con·​fi·​dence | \ˈkän-fə-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\

Definition of confidence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed met the risk with brash confidence

b : faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way have confidence in a leader

2 : the quality or state of being certain : certitude they had every confidence of success

3a : a relation of trust or intimacy took his friend into his confidence

b : reliance on another's discretion Their story was told in strictest confidence.

c : support especially in a legislative body vote of confidence

4 : a communication made in confidence : secret accused him of betraying a confidence



Definition of confidence (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or adept at swindling by false promises a confidence game a confidence man

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Choose the Right Synonym for confidence


confidence, assurance, self-possession, aplomb mean a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one's powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance. the confidence that comes from long experience assurance carries a stronger implication of certainty and may suggest arrogance or lack of objectivity in assessing one's own powers. handled the cross-examination with complete assurance self-possession implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one's powers. answered the insolent question with complete self-possession aplomb implies a manifest self-possession in trying or challenging situations. handled the reporters with great aplomb

Examples of confidence in a Sentence


The class gave me more confidence. He lacked the confidence to succeed. The experience gave her the confidence to start her own business. Good grades boosted her confidence. It takes time to build confidence when you are learning a new skill. They have an air of confidence about them. She has done little to gain their confidence. School officials express confidence that the problem will soon be resolved.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tyrants’ claims to power get progressively more grandiose, their fantasies more delusional, their follies more transparent, as their self-confidence expands. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton talked about throwing a runner out at the plate in the eighth inning during Wednesday's 7-4 win over the Chicago White Sox and the team's rising confidence. Bobby Nightengale,, "Cincinnati Reds' Billy Hamilton has taken 2 or 3 potential homers away from Matt Carpenter," 14 July 2018 As a two-time winner of the Naperville Men’s City Championship and the tournament’s record-holder for low score, Glenn Przybylski brought confidence into Saturday’s opening round at Naperbrook Golf Course. Steve Millar, Naperville Sun, "Watch the birdies: Frankfort’s Glenn Przybylski takes first-round lead in Naperville Men’s City Championship," 14 July 2018 With the threat of high school looming, Kayla decides to take some of that online confidence IRL. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "Eighth Grade Is Awkward, Heartbreaking, and Beautiful—Just Like Your Middle School Experience," 13 July 2018 Testers liked the fit of Thule’s Capstone 50L ($200), which can be adjusted on the go while on your back, as well as its confidence-inspiring thick nylon fabrics and quality zippers. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 Maybe it’s confidence, but one wrong move there could end it all. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 Dan Straily, who started Wednesday for the Marlins and turned in six strong innings, said he's noticed the team's younger players gaining confidence with more experience. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins celebrate another extra-inning win on walk-off hit in 12th," 12 July 2018 Commission Chair Ed Eilert and Commissioners Jim Allen and Ron Shaffer, who had opposed Zacharias’ removal, nonetheless said Postoak Ferguson has their full faith and confidence. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "The vote was unanimous: She’s now Johnson County’s new manager," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confidence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confidence


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1849, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for confidence


Middle English confydence, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French confidence, borrowed from Latin confīdentia, from confīdent-, confīdens "trusting in oneself, confident" + -ia -ia entry 1


from attributive use of confidence entry 1

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Statistics for confidence

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for confidence

The first known use of confidence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for confidence



English Language Learners Definition of confidence

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something

: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true


con·​fi·​dence | \ˈkän-fə-dəns \

Kids Definition of confidence

1 : a feeling of trust or belief Do you have confidence in your partner?

3 : reliance on another's secrecy or loyalty Remember, I told you that in confidence.

4 : secret entry 2 Don't betray a confidence.

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Comments on confidence

What made you want to look up confidence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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