Word of the Day

vote of confidence

© Cultura


1. a voting process in which people show support for a person or group in power

2. a statement or action that shows your support for a particular person or group

Origin and usage

Confidence comes from the Latin ‘confidentia’, which derives from the verb ‘confidere’ meaning ‘to have full trust’. It was first used in English in the first half of the 15th century.  The first use of the expression vote of confidence occurred in the UK’s parliamentary record ‘Hansard’ in 1846, when a certain G Bentinck was recorded as having stated that he would have preferred ‘a direct vote of want of confidence in Her Majesty’s Ministers’, ‘want’ in this case meaning ‘lack’. The more usual form of the expression today, vote of confidence, dates from 1955 with the extended use following soon afterwards.


In political terms, a vote of confidence is a demonstration that a majority continues to support an individual or group that is in power. Conversely, a vote of no confidence is an indication that a leader or government does not have the support of a majority and must therefore step aside so that others can take over the reins of government. While the very fact of facing a confidence motion is an indication that a leader is not securely in control, winning a vote of confidence gives them licence to carry on, at least until the next vote of no confidence comes along. The extended use generally refers to sentiment rather than to actual voting: so a business investing in a new factory could be seen as a vote of confidence in the workforce; or a manager’s public praise for a player could constitute a vote of confidence in their future place in the team.


“I have confidence in sunshine,
I have confidence in rain.
I have confidence that spring will come again!
Besides what you see I have confidence in me.”
(Richard Rogers, The Sound of Music)

Related words

backing, endorsement, support

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Leave a Comment