con·​fi·​den·​tial | \ ˌkän-fə-ˈden(t)-shəl How to pronounce confidential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce confidentiality (audio) \ noun
confidentially \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈden(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce confidentially (audio) \ 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 Juvenile Court records are confidential – even the family members of Vineyard’s victims had not been allowed to see the document. oregonlive, "Oregon judge explains why he didn’t send teen killer to adult court despite atrocity of the crime," 9 May 2020 With assistance by Naureen S Malik, and Chris Martin Published on Have a confidential tip for our reporters? Catherine Ngai,, "The Idea of Negative Oil Prices Is More Realistic Than You Think," 8 May 2020 My mom recently told me my aunt viewed our conversations as confidential. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "'She lit up a room': Kim Blanchar, a retired Brebeuf teacher, died of COVID-19," 8 May 2020 The Arizona Department of Health Services has repeatedly refused to disclose the names of nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks, saying the information is confidential. Caitlin Mcglade, azcentral, "Federal government to release names of nursing homes with coronavirus — information Arizona refuses to provide," 7 May 2020 The reporting team spent 18 months on the investigation, obtaining more than 13,000 pages of confidential Navy records and interviewing hundreds of officials up and down the chain-of-command. ProPublica, "ProPublica and Local Reporting Partner Anchorage Daily News Win Pulitzer Prizes for National Reporting and Public Service," 4 May 2020 In another case, a special agent of the FBI received a six-year prison sentence for tipping off people who traded based on confidential information obtained from law enforcement databases. Anchorage Daily News, "Five myths about insider trading," 3 May 2020 Rumors have spread across social media over the past 48 hours claiming Shi Zhengli and her family escaped from China, bringing hundreds of confidential documents to the U.S. embassy in Paris. Fox News, "China’s ‘Bat Woman’ Shi Zhengli denies ‘defecting with intelligence files’," 3 May 2020 One program initiated in 2019 seeks to catch serial offenders by tracking confidential information provided by victims. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Sexual assault reports in the military rise 3%, defying Pentagon efforts to eliminate the crime," 30 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for confidential

Time Traveler

The first known use of confidential was in 1759

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Statistics for confidential

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confidential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for confidential


How to pronounce confidential (audio)

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 How to pronounce confidential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce confidential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce confidentiality (audio) \ noun
confidentially adverb

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