1610s, confident, "(male) person trusted with private affairs," from French confident (16c.), from Italian confidente "a trusty friend," literally "confident, trusty," from Latin confidentem (nominative confidens), present participle of confidere "to trust, confide," from assimilated form of com, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + fidere "to trust" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade"). The spelling with -a- and the pronunciation with the stress on the last syllable came to predominate 18c. and might reflect the French pronunciation.
updated on June 27, 2021