Difference Between
versus

Confidential vs. Private: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Confidential pertains to information meant to be kept secret within a specific group, while private refers to anything that is intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class.
Confidential vs. Private

Key Differences

Confidential refers to information that is intended to be kept secret or private, often due to its sensitive nature, and is expected to be disclosed only to a select group of people. Private, on the other hand, pertains to matters that are personal or not for public knowledge, but may not necessarily be sensitive or secret.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
Information deemed confidential often carries legal or ethical implications if disclosed, and its access is typically restricted to certain individuals. Private information or matters, while also restricted in access, may not have the same legal bindings or expectations of secrecy but are kept to oneself or a limited group for personal reasons.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
The term confidential is commonly used in professional or organizational contexts, where certain information is to be shared only among specific people or groups. Private, in contrast, is a broader term that applies to individuals and pertains to their personal life, belongings, or matters that they choose not to share publicly.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
Breaching confidential information can lead to legal consequences or breach of trust in professional settings. Breaching something that is private, while it can be a violation of personal space or trust, typically does not involve legal ramifications unless it intersects with confidentiality or privacy laws.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
In summary, confidential is about protecting information that is sensitive and has restricted access due to its nature or implications. Private relates more to personal matters, spaces, or information that an individual chooses to keep to themselves or a limited audience for various reasons.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature of Information

Often sensitive or secret
Personal or not for public disclosure
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Legal Implications

Possible legal consequences for unauthorized disclosure
Less likely to involve legal issues unless privacy laws are involved
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Context of Use

Mostly in professional, legal, or organizational settings
Broad, including personal life and individual matters
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Expectation of Secrecy

High, with restricted access
Moderate, based on personal choice
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Consequences of Breach

Legal issues, breach of trust, or ethical violations
Violation of personal space or trust
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Nov 22, 2023
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Confidential and Private Definitions

Confidential

Entrusted with private or restricted information.
As her lawyer, he was privy to many confidential details.
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Nov 22, 2023

Private

Belonging to or for the use of one particular person or group; not public.
She kept a private journal of her thoughts.
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Nov 22, 2023

Confidential

Intended to be kept secret within a particular group or context.
The doctor kept the patient's health records confidential.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Private

Concerning one's personal life or feelings; not connected with one's public or professional role.
He rarely discussed his private life.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Confidential

Denoting information that has been classified as secret.
The government document was labeled as confidential.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Private

Not publicly disclosed; kept secret.
The CEO’s private email was accidentally leaked.
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Nov 22, 2023

Confidential

Characterized by a need to maintain discretion or secrecy.
She spoke in a confidential tone about her plans.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Private

Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others.
They had a private conversation in the garden.
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Nov 22, 2023

Confidential

Done or communicated in confidence; secret.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others
A private hideaway.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Entrusted with the confidence of another
A confidential secretary.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Designed or intended for one's exclusive use
A private room.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Denoting confidence or intimacy
A confidential tone of voice.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Of or confined to the individual; personal
A private joke.
Private opinions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Containing information, the unauthorized disclosure of which poses a threat to national security.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Undertaken on an individual basis
Private studies.
Private research.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Kept, or meant to be kept, secret within a certain circle of persons; not intended to be known publicly
The newspaper claims a leaked confidential report by the government admits to problems with corrupt MPs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Of, relating to, or receiving special hospital services and privileges
A private patient.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

(dated) Inclined to share confidences; (of things) making people inclined to share confidences; involving the sharing of confidences.
Sitting in front of the fire, they became quite confidential, and began to gossip.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not available for public use, control, or participation
A private club.
A private party.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

(dated) Having someone's confidence or trust; having a position requiring trust; worthy of being trusted with confidences.
A confidential agent; a confidential servant; a confidential whisper
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government
Private property.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Enjoying, or treated with, confidence; trusted in; trustworthy; as, a confidential servant or clerk.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources
Private funding.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Communicated in confidence; secret.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations
A private college.
A private sanatorium.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Entrusted with private information and the confidence of another;
A confidential secretary
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Enrolled in or attending a private school
A private student.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

(of information) given in confidence or in secret;
Closet information
This arrangement must be kept confidential
Their secret communications
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Capitalized in shares of stock that are held by a relatively small number of owners and are not traded on the open market
A private company.
A company that went private.
Took a company private.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Denoting confidence or intimacy;
A confidential approach
In confidential tone of voice
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not holding an official or public position
A private citizen.
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Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

The level of official classification for documents next above restricted and below secret; available only to persons authorized to see documents so classified
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not for public knowledge or disclosure; secret
Private papers.
A private communication.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Confidential

Marked by privacy or secrecy; not open or public.
The company’s confidential meeting was held behind closed doors.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Private

Not appropriate for use or display in public; intimate
Private behavior.
A private tragedy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Placing a high value on personal privacy
A private person.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

A noncommissioned rank in the US Army or Marine Corps that is below private first class.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Privates Private parts. Often used with the.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Belonging to, concerning, or accessible only to an individual person or a specific group.
Her address is private; you can't have it.
Private papers
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not accessible by the public.
Private property
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not in governmental office or employment.
He quit public life, living quietly as a private citizen.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not publicly known; not open; secret.
The identity of the beneficiaries of the trust is private.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Protected from view or disturbance by others; secluded.
Can we go somewhere more private?
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not traded by the public.
Private corporation
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Secretive; reserved.
He is a very private person.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not shared with another patient.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Accessible only to the class itself or instances of it, and not to other classes or even subclasses.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

A soldier of the lowest rank in the army.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

A doctor working in privately rather than publicly funded health care.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

The genitals.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

(obsolete) A secret message; a personal unofficial communication.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

(obsolete) Personal interest; particular business.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

(obsolete) Privacy; retirement.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

(obsolete) One not invested with a public office.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

A private lesson.
If you want to learn ballet, consider taking privates.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

To make something hidden from the public (without deleting it permanently).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Belonging to, or concerning, an individual person, company, or interest; peculiar to one's self; unconnected with others; personal; one's own; not public; not general; separate; as, a man's private opinion; private property; a private purse; private expenses or interests; a private secretary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary; as, a private room or apartment; private prayer.
Reason . . . then retiresInto her private cell when nature rests.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or employment; as, a private citizen; private life.
A private person may arrest a felon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not publicly known; not open; secret; as, a private negotiation; a private understanding.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Having secret or private knowledge; privy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

A secret message; a personal unofficial communication.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Personal interest; particular business.
Nor must I be unmindful of my private.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

Privacy; retirement.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

One not invested with a public office.
What have kings, that privates have not too?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

A common soldier; a soldier below the grade of a noncommissioned officer.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

The private parts; the genitals.
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Oct 19, 2023

Private

An enlisted man of the lowest rank;
Our prisoner was just a private and knew nothing of value
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Confined to particular persons or groups or providing privacy;
A private place
Private discussions
Private lessons
A private club
A private secretary
Private property
The former President is now a private citizen
Public figures struggle to maintain a private life
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Concerning things deeply private and personal;
Private correspondence
Private family matters
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Concerning one person exclusively;
We all have individual cars
Each room has a private bath
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Not expressed;
Secret (or private) thoughts
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Private

Intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group.
The gated community offered private amenities to its residents.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does 'confidential' mean?

It means information meant to be kept secret within a specific group or setting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Are confidential documents legally protected?

Often, yes. Unauthorized disclosure can have legal repercussions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can a conversation be both private and confidential?

Yes, if it's personal and meant to be kept secret within the participants.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can private information be confidential?

Yes, private information can also be confidential if it's sensitive and restricted.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Who decides if something is confidential?

Typically, the person or organization that owns the information.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Are private conversations on social media truly private?

Not always, as they can be accessed or leaked under certain circumstances.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is a confidentiality agreement?

A legal contract that outlines the information to be kept secret.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Is my personal diary private?

Yes, it's private as it's intended for your use and not for public disclosure.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What makes information confidential in a legal sense?

Legal confidentiality is determined by laws, contracts, or professional ethics.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is the difference between private and public companies?

Private companies are not traded publicly and often have fewer shareholders.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can I request my medical records to remain confidential?

Yes, patient privacy is protected under health privacy laws.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Do private matters always stay private?

Ideally, but they can become public if not properly safeguarded.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can an employee share confidential information with family?

Usually no, unless expressly permitted by the confidentiality agreement.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

How can I keep my personal data private online?

By using strong passwords, secure networks, and privacy settings.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Are private phone calls recorded by companies confidential?

They should be, especially if they contain sensitive information.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Is it illegal to disclose private information?

It depends on the context and if privacy laws are violated.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can confidential information ever become public?

Yes, if it's declassified or accidentally leaked.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What should I do if my private information is leaked?

Report it to the relevant authorities and take steps to secure your data.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can a private blog become public?

Yes, if the blogger chooses to share it or it gets leaked.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Are private schools the same as confidential schools?

No, private schools are not open to the public, but they're not necessarily confidential.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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