Humanities › English Confidant and Confident Commonly Confused Words Share Flipboard Email Print Sam Edwards / Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated August 22, 2017 Don't confuse the nouns confidant and confidante with the adjective confident. Definitions The noun confidant refers to a person (usually a trusted friend, family member, or associate) to whom secrets or private matters are freely disclosed. A confidant may be either male or female. A confidante is female. The adjective confident means certain, bold, or self-assured. Examples "He was my soul mate, my confidant, my hedge against loneliness. I needed him. I felt lost without him."(Betty Berzon, Surviving Madness. University of Wisconsin Press, 2002)"Eleanor began to shed her timidity. On her honeymoon in Switzerland, she had feared scaling the peaks and watched as Franklin marched off with a glamorous hat maker. Now she hiked mountains with long, confident strides, outpacing everyone else."(Joseph E. Persico, Franklin and Lucy. Random House, 2007)"Going past the room occupied by the young missionary, I smiled upon his door, which was shut, confident that he was inside hard at prayers."(J.F. Powers, "Death of a Favorite." The New Yorker, 1951) Usage Notes "Today the forms confidant and confidante predominate in both American English and British English, though confidante is falling into disuse because of what is increasingly thought to be a needless distinction between males and females. Despite the poor etymology, one can be confident in using confidant (/kon-fi-dahnt/) for either sex, as it is predominantly used in American writing."(Bryan A. Garner, Garner's Modern English Usage, 4th ed. Oxford University Press, 2016)"Confidant(e)/Confident. As with all words ending with ant/ent, the former is a noun and the latter an adjective: He was so confident, he did not need a confidant in whom to confide his fears."(John Seely, Oxford Guide to Effective Writing and Speaking. Oxford University Press, 2013) Practice (a) Congressional leaders stood in a little cluster, wearing the aggressively _____ expressions that politicians put on when they face a pack of reporters. (b) My mother is my best friend and _____. Answers to Practice Exercises: Confidant and Confident (a) Congressional leaders stood in a little cluster, wearing the aggressively confident expressions that politicians put on when they face a pack of reporters.(b) My mother is my best friend and confidant (or confidante).