(1) They confided in their own ability.
my variant:
(2) They trusted in their own ability.
What is the difference between (1) & (2)?

(3) They trust in God.
my variant:
(4) They confide in God.
What is the difference between (3) & (4)?

(5) You have to trust in the competence of others.
my variant:
(6) You have to confide in the competence of others.
What is the difference between (5) & (6)?

  • 2
    Did you look up the definition of confide in any of those dictionaries? For example, in Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, it says "confide: to tell somebody secrets and personal information that you do not want other people to know" which seems very different from trust.
    – stangdon
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:19
  • 1
    You can use to have confidence in as a synonym of to trust, but not to confide. Jul 6, 2023 at 15:31
  • @KateBunting you say: to trust = to have confidence in ≠ to confide. But "to trust" and "to confide" are not discussed in the original post. The question is about "to trust in" and "to confide in". Could you explain please what you meant?
    – Loviii
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:41
  • 2
    @Loviii "to trust in" and "to confide in" are just the verbs "trust" and "confide" with prepositional phrases after them. They're not different verbs. "confide" ≠ "trust", no matter the context. "Confide" is a specific physical action". "Trust" is a belief.
    – gotube
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:50
  • 1
    They confide in God- they tell God their secrets. They have confidence in God - they trust God. Jul 6, 2023 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


In 19th Century British English, one meaning of "to confide" was "to be confident". Before the sea battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Admiral Nelson wished to make a flag signal to his fleet, assuring his sailors that their country was confident that they would do their best. He asked his signaller to hoist a set of flags, using "confides" in this context. On being told that he could do it with fewer flags by substituting a single flag which meant "expects" for single letter flags spelling out "confides", he agreed, and the famous signal "England expects that every man will do his duty" was hoisted. Nowadays, that meaning is never used, and one confides in someone else by telling them a secret. Obviously one trusts that person not to pass on the secret.

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