bona fide


bo·​na fide ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd How to pronounce bona fide (audio)
-ˈfī-də How to pronounce bona fide (audio)
: neither specious nor counterfeit : genuine
has become a bona fide celebrity
: made with earnest intent : sincere
a bona fide proposal
law : made in good faith without fraud or deceit
a bona fide offer to buy a farm

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.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of bona fide in a Sentence

She has established her position as a bona fide celebrity. His latest record was a bona fide hit. They have a bona fide claim for the loss.
Recent Examples on the Web The difference is Williams, with his streak-scoring outbursts in the G League, has yet to show as much of a singular bona fide NBA skill as Swider’s 3-point stroke. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 10 July 2024 The front office is still exploring trades that could make Sacramento a bona fide Western Conference contender, but the addition of DeRozan alone might solidify them as a playoff team. Jason Anderson, Sacramento Bee, 9 July 2024 According to Ellison’s own account, Bill insisted on having a bona fide pilot in a supporting role, although the Oracle heir is believed to have helped finance the picture as well. Jodi Helmer, Fortune, 8 July 2024 But that's all real racing footage shot on actual tracks during bona fide F1 Grand Prix weekends. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for bona fide 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bona fide.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, literally, in good faith

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of bona fide was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near bona fide

Cite this Entry

“Bona fide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

bona fide

bo·​na fide ˈbō-nə-ˌfīd How to pronounce bona fide (audio) ˈbä-nə- How to pronounce bona fide (audio)
: made or done in good faith
bona fide offer
: made with earnest intent : sincere
: genuine sense 1
a bona fide cowboy

from Latin bona fide, literally, "in good faith"; bona from bonus "good" and fide from fides "faith" — related to bonus, faith

Legal Definition

: characterized by good faith and lack of fraud or deceit
a bona fide offer
: valid under or in compliance with the law
retirement incentives made part of a bona fide employee benefit plan
: made with or characterized by sincerity
a bona fide belief
: being real or genuine
bona fide residents

Latin, in good faith

More from Merriam-Webster on bona fide

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!