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

Apple investigated and learned Zhang downloaded confidential technical documents about self-driving car prototypes. USA TODAY, "Trump attends NATO summit. That doesn't mean he has to like it," 11 July 2018 The shredding trucks will be there to securely shred all those confidential documents that should not go in the trash. Shirley Macfarland,, "Find rare and unusual plants at Crown Point's Organic Plant Sale: Talk of the Towns," 3 May 2018 There is a limit of two medium-sized boxes per household of confidential documents only — no newspapers, magazines, catalogs or fliers. Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County community calendar," 30 Apr. 2018 The Central Registry maintained by Arizona's Department of Child Safety is a confidential document that lists people with proven reports of child abuse or neglect. Mary Jo Pitzl, The Republic |, "Am I on the child-protective blacklist? How to find out," 29 Apr. 2018 Mathur restricted access to confidential documents in such a way that members can only read the material at CalPERS headquarters. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "'Seemingly dysfunctional' CalPERS leaders spar over documents, access | The Sacramento Bee," 27 Apr. 2018 Hunter was convicted in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in 2014 of one count related to using her position as judge to give her brother, a juvenile court employee, confidential documents. Kevin Grasha,, "After more than 3 years, here’s where the Tracie Hunter case stands," 8 Apr. 2018 According to Reuters, Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Hau Do Suan, said that the two were accused of having confidential government documents and not for reporting on the news. Ale Russian,, "Amal Clooney Joins Legal Battle to Free Two Jailed Journalists in Myanmar," 29 Mar. 2018 The council members who voted in favor of blocking the release said at the time the investigation was a confidential document, citing attorney-client privilege, the tradition of secrecy allowed between lawyer and customer. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Troy city manager jailed for violating court order in domestic assault case," 27 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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Statistics for confidential

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 settle judicially or to act as judge

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