bona fide

adjective bo·na fide \ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd, ˈbä-; ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-dē, -ˈfī-də\

Definition of bona fide

  1. 1 law :  made in good faith without fraud or deceit a bona fide offer to buy a farm

  2. 2 :  made with earnest intent :  sincere a bona fide proposal

  3. 3 :  neither specious nor counterfeit :  genuine has become a bona fide celebrity

Examples of bona fide in a sentence

  1. She has established her position as a bona fide celebrity.

  2. His latest record was a bona fide hit.

  3. They have a bona fide claim for the loss.

Did You Know?

Bona fide means "in good faith" in Latin. When applied to business deals and the like, it stresses the absence of fraud or deception. A bona fide sale of securities is an entirely aboveboard transaction. Outside of business and law, bona fide implies mere sincerity and earnestness. A bona fide promise is one that the person has every intention of keeping. A bona fide proposal of marriage is one made by a suitor who isn't kidding around. Bona fide also has the noun form bona fides; when someone asks about someone else's bona fides, it usually means evidence of their qualifications or achievements.

Origin and Etymology of bona fide

Latin, literally, in good faith

First Known Use: 1632

Synonym Discussion of bona fide

authentic, genuine, bona fide mean being actually and exactly what is claimed. authentic implies being fully trustworthy as according with fact an authentic account of the perilous journey; it can also stress painstaking or faithful imitation of an original. an authentic reproduction authentic Vietnamese cuisine genuine implies actual character not counterfeited, imitated, or adulterated genuine piety genuine maple syrup; it also connotes definite origin from a source. a genuine Mark Twain autograph bona fide implies good faith and sincerity of intention. a bona fide offer for the stock

BONA FIDE Defined for English Language Learners

bona fide

adjective bo·na fide \ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd, ˈbä-; ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-dē, -ˈfī-də\

Definition of bona fide for English Language Learners

  • : real or genuine

  • law : made or done in an honest and sincere way

BONA FIDE Defined for Kids

bona fide

adjective bo·na fide \ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd, ˈbä-\

Definition of bona fide for Students

  1. :  genuine 1 I have a bona fide excuse.

Law Dictionary

bona fide

adjective bo·na fide \ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd, ˈbä-nə-; ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-dē, -ˈfī-də\

Legal Definition of bona fide

  1. 1a :  characterized by good faith and lack of fraud or deceit a bona fide offer b :  valid under or in compliance with the law retirement incentives made part of a bona fide employee benefit plan

  2. 2 :  made with or characterized by sincerity a bona fide belief

  3. 3 :  being real or genuine bona fide residents

Origin and Etymology of bona fide

Latin, in good faith

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bona fide? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to help become familiar with something

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • ludwig-richter-spring-has-arrived
  • Which is a synonym of upbraid?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.