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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from confidential

confidentiality \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˌden(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce confidential (audio) \ noun
confidentially \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈden(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce confidential (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Canopy argues that the public record should be hidden from the public to protect confidential information about themselves and their clients. John Archibald |, al, 8 Sep. 2021 James’ report alleged that in December of 2020, while president of HRC, David gave a memo containing confidential information on Boylan’s employment history to an adviser on Cuomo’s team. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, 7 Sep. 2021 The commission on Wednesday will wade into part of the fight, as FAIR seeks to keep confidential certain information submitted to the commission about its members, such as names, mailing addresses and email addresses. Jim Saunders,, 7 Sep. 2021 June 2013 - Voices his support for Edward Snowden, who leaked confidential information regarding the US government’s surveillance programs. CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 Officials at California State University, Chico, are investigating a data breach that exposed confidential information from 130 students who requested religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine. Robin Estrin, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2021 These employees, who later accused Paxton of abuse of office, leaked confidential information, deleted records and urged investigators not to keep notes of their findings, the report alleges. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, 24 Aug. 2021 According to the civil complaint, the individuals accumulated about $3 million in profit from trading confidential information about Netflix’s subscriber growth, a crucial metric used in the company’s quarterly earnings announcement. Talal Ansari, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2021 Five people, including three former Netflix employees, used confidential subscriber growth information to illegally trade in Netflix stock, netting $3.1 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint filed on Wednesday. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 18 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About confidential

Time Traveler for confidential

Time Traveler

The first known use of confidential was in 1759

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near confidential



confidential employee

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for confidential

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confidential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for confidential



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 confidential (audio) \ noun
confidentially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on confidential

Nglish: Translation of confidential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confidential for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!