con·​fi·​den·​tial | \ˌkän-fə-ˈden(t)-shəl \

Definition of confidential 

1 : marked by intimacy or willingness to confide a confidential tone

2 : private, secret confidential information

3 : entrusted with confidences a confidential clerk

4 : containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be prejudicial to the national interest — compare secret, top secret

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Other Words from confidential

confidentiality \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˌden(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē \ noun
confidentially \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈden(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of confidential in a Sentence

These documents are completely confidential. “I have something to tell you,” John said in a confidential tone. Her voice was quiet and confidential. She worked as a confidential secretary to the mayor for many years.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Other clients and potential clients have asked to remain confidential. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Why you might want to wrap your car fob in foil," 6 July 2018 The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the Witnesses’ nonprofit corporation, warned elders in a 1989 memo, for example, to be careful about sharing confidential information that could serve as fodder for a lawsuit. David Gambacorta,, "She says she was 5 when another Jehovah's Witness raped her. The religion's leaders call such accounts 'false stories.'," 20 June 2018 Most of the terms remain confidential, but according to VeloNews, Trek agreed to make two payments of $100,000 each to a charity that LeMond supported. Blane Bachelor, Outside Online, "Trek Settles Lawsuit Over Farley Fat-Bike Name," 11 June 2018 Schedule Bs are supposed to remain confidential, but AGs in New York and California have sought to require nonprofits to file them at the state level. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Protecting Nonprofit Donors," 24 May 2018 The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement specifies such details remain confidential. Because the substance involved was a diuretic, the drug agreement called for Cano to be retested., "Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano Suspended 80 Games for Drug Violation," 16 May 2018 Details of plea deal negotiations generally remain confidential until any potential deals are discussed in open court. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Plea deal explored in New Year's Eve beating death outside North Chicago party," 27 Apr. 2018 Jay Kelley, an attorney with Elk & Elk who is representing more than 30 patients, said most of his clients want to remain confidential. Ginger Christ,, "Patients say University Hospitals' fertility clinic betrayed their trust," 29 Mar. 2018 Details remain confidential until the matter is settled. Mary Shanklin,, "Orlando veteran to serve on condo board trying to take his dog," 23 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confidential.' 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 confidential

1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confidential

Latin confīdentia, taken as base of confidence entry 1 + -al entry 1 (perhaps after French confidentiel)

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Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for confidential

The first known use of confidential was in 1759

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English Language Learners Definition of confidential

: secret or private

: showing that you are saying something that is secret or private

: trusted with secret or private information


con·​fi·​den·​tial | \ˌkän-fə-ˈden-shəl \

Kids Definition of confidential

1 : secret entry 1 sense 1 confidential information

2 : indicating a need for secrecy She spoke in a confidential tone.

3 : trusted with secret matters a confidential assistant

Other Words from confidential

confidentially adverb


con·​fi·​den·​tial | \ˌkän-fi-ˈden-chəl \

Legal Definition of confidential 

1 : known or conveyed only to a limited number of people a confidential disclosure

2 : marked by or indicative of intimacy, mutual trust, or willingness to confide especially between parties one of whom is in a position of superiority the confidential relationship of doctor and patient

3 : containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be prejudicial to the national interest

Other Words from confidential

confidentiality \ ˌkän-​fi-​ˌden-​chē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē \ noun
confidentially adverb

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Comments on confidential

What made you want to look up confidential? 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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