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 Leaks of confidential conversations involving Biden and former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko — including a fresh batch made public Wednesday — have provided no major ammunition for Trump’s campaign. David L. Stern, Washington Post, "Ukraine’s bank chief quit and coffin left as warning. It’s a scandal that threatens the country’s economic health.," 11 July 2020 Required by law to keep most of its activities confidential, the new agency played a quiet, behind-the-scenes role throughout the second half of the 1960s as civil rights activism swept across the country. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "How a Key Federal Civil Rights Agency Was Sidelined as Historic Protests Erupted," 9 July 2020 And Russian experts agree that Russian intelligence may also have forged more confidential links with Taliban leaders. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "For Russian experts, Taliban bounty report just doesn’t make sense," 9 July 2020 Business owners can get one-on-one confidential advice and assistance at the centers on many topics including education, training and business planning. USA TODAY, "Nail salons, strip club outbreak, Harvard from afar: News from around our 50 states," 8 July 2020 The new guide revises sections on confidential reporting, periodic testing and reviews, and mergers and acquisitions. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "Updated Bribery Law Guide Reinforces Broad View of Accounting Provisions," 8 July 2020 Currently, the terms of the settlement would allow for those who experienced harassment or abuse at the hands of Weinstein to submit confidential claims describing their encounters and the impact of the misconduct. Sarah Midkiff,, "Convicted Rapist Harvey Weinstein Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit For $19 Million," 1 July 2020 With assistance by Emma Kinery Published on Updated on Have a confidential tip for our reporters? Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou,, "Trump Says He Is ‘Flexible’ About Convention: Campaign Update," 10 July 2020 Often labeled as confidential information or proprietary information, trade secrets encompass vast quantities of information needed to discover, test, create, and manufacture diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. David S. Levine, STAT, "Covid-19 should spark a reexamination of trade secrets’ stranglehold on information," 10 July 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

27 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confidential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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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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