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Confidante vs. Confidant — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 7, 2024
Confidante is someone trusted with secrets, typically female, while a confidant is a gender-neutral term for a trusted person.
Confidante vs. Confidant — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Confidante and Confidant


Key Differences

Confidante often refers to a female trusted with private matters, stemming from the feminine form in French. It implies a deep level of trust and emotional connection, usually in a personal or intimate context. On the other hand, confidant is a gender-neutral term used to describe a person, regardless of their gender, to whom one confides secrets or private matters. This term focuses on the role of trust and confidentiality in a relationship, without any implications regarding the gender of the individual.
The use of confidante and confidant is distinguished by their gender connotations. Confidante, with an "e" at the end, is traditionally used when referring to a female confidant. This distinction comes from French, where nouns are gendered. Whereas confidant without the "e" is considered gender-neutral and can be used to refer to a person of any gender who is entrusted with secrets.
In terms of historical usage, confidante has been specifically used when the person in whom one confides is a woman. This usage reflects societal norms and linguistic patterns that assign gender to roles based on the gendered nature of many languages, including French, from which the term is derived. Conversely, confidant is used more broadly and does not specify the gender of the trusted individual, making it applicable in a wider range of contexts.
The choice between confidante and confidant can also reflect the speaker's linguistic preference or awareness of the terms' nuances. Some may choose "confidante" to emphasize the feminine aspect of the role, especially in contexts where the gender of the confidant is relevant to the discussion. Meanwhile, others may prefer the simplicity and universality of "confidant" to avoid unnecessary gender specification.

Comparison Chart

Gender association

Typically female


Feminine form in French
Gender-neutral in French

Usage context

Personal, intimate
Broad, general

Historical usage

Used for women
Used for any gender

Linguistic preference

Emphasizes femininity
Avoids gender specification

Compare with Definitions


A female trusted friend.
My sister has always been my confidante.


Someone chosen for sharing confidential information.
As her mentor, I became her confidant.


A woman known for being reliable in keeping secrets.
In every circle, there's a confidante who holds all the stories.


A person trusted with secrets.
He became my confidant after our long journey together.


A woman to whom secrets are confided.
She was my confidante during those turbulent years.


A close, trustworthy friend.
Every leader needs a confidant.


A female with whom one shares private matters.
She became his confidante after years of friendship.


A trusted counselor or advisor.
She sought her teacher as a confidant during the crisis.


A lady counselor or advisor.
As a therapist, she became a confidante to many.


A reliable person for private advice.
In matters of state, the king had his confidant.


A confidant, especially one who is a woman.


The confidant ( or ; feminine: confidante, same pronunciation) is a character in a story whom a protagonist confides in and trusts. Confidants may be other principal characters, characters who command trust by virtue of their position such as doctors or other authority figures, or anonymous confidants with no separate role in the narrative.


A female confidant.


One to whom secrets or private matters are disclosed.


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


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.


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.


Someone to whom private matters are confided

Common Curiosities

Is it acceptable to use confidante and confidant interchangeably?

While they can be used interchangeably in informal contexts, it's more precise to use "confidante" for females and "confidant" for a gender-neutral or male reference.

Can a confidant be of any gender?

Yes, a confidant is a gender-neutral term and can refer to a trusted individual of any gender.

Does confidante imply a closer relationship than confidant?

Not necessarily; both terms imply a deep level of trust, but "confidante" may suggest a more personal or intimate connection.

Can family members be considered confidants?

Absolutely, family members often serve as confidants due to the inherent trust and closeness of familial relationships.

Can a professional relationship involve a confidante?

Yes, professional relationships can involve a confidante, especially in contexts where personal advice or emotional support is exchanged.

How do I decide whether to use confidante or confidant?

The choice depends on the gender of the individual and the speaker's preference for emphasizing gender. Use "confidante" for females and "confidant" for a gender-neutral reference.

Is it outdated to use the term confidante due to its gender specificity?

Some may consider it outdated in contexts sensitive to gender specificity, but it remains in use for its traditional and nuanced meaning.

What defines a confidante?

A confidante is typically a female with whom one shares personal secrets and intimate details, reflecting a deep level of trust.

What is the impact of having a confidante or confidant on one's mental health?

Having a trusted individual to share one's thoughts and feelings with can significantly improve one's mental health by providing emotional support and reducing feelings of isolation.

How does the role of a confidant differ in a professional setting compared to a personal one?

In professional settings, a confidant might focus more on career advice and work-related secrets, while in personal settings, the focus would be on personal life and intimate secrets.

Can one have more than one confidant or confidante?

Yes, one can have multiple confidants or confidantes, depending on the nature and number of relationships one maintains.

Are there famous literary examples featuring a confidante?

Literature is replete with confidantes, serving as key characters that help protagonists navigate their journeys, such as Horatio in Shakespeare's "Hamlet."

Is trustworthiness the sole criterion for a confidant or confidante?

Trustworthiness is the primary criterion, but empathy, discretion, and the ability to provide support are also important qualities.

Does cultural background influence the use of confidante vs. confidant?

Cultural norms and language can influence the preference for and perception of these terms, with some cultures emphasizing gender roles more than others.

Can the role of someone as a confidant or confidante change over time?

Yes, relationships evolve, and so can the role of a confidant or confidante, depending on changes in trust, closeness, and life circumstances.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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