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Confidant vs. Confidante: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
A confidant is someone trusted with secrets, typically male, while a confidante is the female counterpart.

Key Differences

A confidant refers to a person with whom one shares secrets or private matters, trusting them not to divulge these secrets. Typically, in English, "confidant" is gender-neutral but can be skewed towards males. On the other hand, confidante, with the added 'e' at the end, specifically denotes a female individual in whom secrets are confided.
The term confidant originates from the French word "confident," which translates to "trusting" or "confiding." In its usage, confidant often implies a deep level of trust, suggesting the presence of a close bond or relationship. Confidante, with its distinct feminine ending, similarly emanates from French, pointing directly to a woman who holds another's trust.
In some contexts, particularly in older literature or in non-American English usages, the distinction between confidant (male) and confidante (female) is upheld strictly. However, in modern American English, "confidant" is increasingly viewed as gender-neutral, encompassing individuals of any gender. Meanwhile, the term confidante remains feminine.
Both confidant and confidante underscore the importance of trust in interpersonal relationships. Whether revealing personal feelings, sharing sensitive information, or confiding fears, having a confidant or confidante can be therapeutic. It's imperative, however, to ensure that the distinction between the two is clear, particularly when gender specificity is crucial to the context.
In the grand spectrum of language, the differentiation between confidant and confidante might seem minor. Yet, such nuances enrich the tapestry of communication, enabling more precise conveyance of thought, feeling, and intention.

Comparison Chart


A trusted person
Specifically a trusted female person

Gender Association

Traditionally male, but now often gender-neutral


Derived from French "confident"
Feminine version of "confident" in French

Usage in Literature

Often found denoting male figures of trust
Designates female figures in whom secrets are confided

Modern American English

Increasingly accepted as gender-neutral
Remains female-specific

Confidant and Confidante Definitions


A close friend or associate to whom one confides.
Over the years, she became his most trusted confidant.


A woman entrusted with personal secrets or private matters.
Lucy became her confidante during those turbulent times.


Someone reliable for advice or emotional support.
Whenever she faced a dilemma, her confidant was always there.


A female friend to whom one reveals private feelings or concerns.
Over cups of tea, she poured out her heart to her confidante.


A male recipient of personal revelations.
As her brother, he was her closest confidant.


A lady in whom significant trust is placed.
As a confidante, she held the secrets of many.


A person trusted with secrets or private affairs.
Mark served as a confidant to the king, hearing his most private concerns.


A female figure embodying trustworthiness and loyalty.
The queen had a close circle of advisors, but her true confidante was her sister.


An individual in whom one places significant trust.
As a confidant, he never betrayed her secrets.


A woman known for her discretion and counsel.
Whenever life got tough, she turned to her confidante for guidance.


One to whom secrets or private matters are disclosed.


A confidant, especially one who is a woman.


A character in a drama or fiction, such as a trusted friend or servant, who serves as a device for revealing the inner thoughts or intentions of a main character.


A female confidant.


A person in whom one can confide or share one's secrets: a friend.


A type of settee having a seat at each end at right angles to the main seats.


One to whom secrets, especially those relating to affairs of love, are confided or intrusted; a confidential or bosom friend.
You love me for no other endThan to become my confidant and friend;As such I keep no secret from your sight.


A female confidant


Someone to whom private matters are confided


Are these terms derived from French?

Yes, both "confidant" and "confidante" have French origins.

Is "confidant" gender-specific?

While historically male-associated, "confidant" is now often used in a gender-neutral manner.

Can animals, like dogs, be seen as confidants?

Figuratively, yes. People often "confide" in pets due to their non-judgmental nature.

How prevalent is the gender-neutral use of "confidant" in American English?

It's increasingly common, reflecting broader shifts in language towards gender neutrality.

What is a confidant?

A confidant is someone with whom one shares private matters or secrets, traditionally male.

Can confidante refer to a man?

No, confidante is specifically female.

Can "confidante" refer to a close female friend without any secrets shared?

Typically, "confidante" implies trust and shared secrets, but it can hint at closeness.

Are confidant and confidante formal terms?

While not strictly formal, they do have a sophisticated tone compared to "friend."

What defines a confidante?

A confidante is the female version of a confidant, someone trusted with personal secrets.

Are there any synonyms for confidant?

Yes, synonyms include "advisor," "ally," and "counselor."

Does the distinction between confidant and confidante still matter?

In specific contexts, especially where gender is pertinent, the distinction can be crucial.

How should one choose between using confidant and confidante?

Consider the gender of the person referred to and the context's formality.

Are there masculine and feminine forms for other English words?

Yes, like "actor" and "actress" or "blond" and "blonde."

How did "confidante" come to denote females?

The "e" ending in French often denotes femininity, influencing the English usage.

Can a therapist or counselor be seen as a confidant?

Often, yes. Professionals privy to personal details can be confidants in a specific context.

Does confidante always signify a deep bond?

Generally, being labeled a confidante suggests a significant level of trust and closeness.

Do other languages have similar distinctions like confidant and confidante?

Yes, many languages, especially Romance languages, have gender distinctions in nouns.

Can a confidant or confidante be a family member?

Absolutely. Anyone trusted deeply, be it friend or family, can be a confidant/confidante.

Can "confidant" be used for both males and females in modern English?

In modern American English, "confidant" can often denote individuals of any gender.

Does trust always imply someone is a confidant?

Not necessarily. Trust can exist without confiding secrets.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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