bona fides

bo·​na fi·​des | \ ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-ˌdēz How to pronounce bona fides (audio) , ÷ˈbō-nə-ˌfīdz How to pronounce bona fides (audio) \

Definition of bona fides

1 : good faith : sincerity
2 : the fact of being genuine often plural in construction
3 : evidence of one's good faith or genuineness often plural in construction
4 : evidence of one's qualifications or achievements often plural in construction

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Did You Know?

Bona fides looks like a plural word in English, but in Latin, it's a singular noun that literally means "good faith." When bona fides entered English, it at first stayed very close to its Latin use - it was found mostly in legal contexts and it meant "honesty or lawfulness of purpose," just as it did in Latin. It also retained its singular construction. Using this original sense one might speak of "a claimant whose bona fides is unquestionable," for example. But in the 20th century, use of bona fides began to widen, and it began to appear with a plural verb in certain contexts. For example, a sentence such as "the informant's bona fides were ascertained" is now possible.

Examples of bona fides in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So after a year or two, the city declined to issue a permit for future Tucks processions, because it wasn't deemed a bona fide parade deserving of costly police supervision. Doug Maccash,, "The Tucks parade: Providing playful potty humor for 50 years," 23 Jan. 2018 The Met Gala is one of the few nights of the year when fashion, beauty, art, and culture converge to make a bona fide moment. Teen Vogue, "The Best Met Gala Beauty Looks of All Time," 3 May 2019 High: $4,800 a day Accidental splurges are a bona fide hazard in high-cost Zurich. Plot your stay carefully by taking in the rarefied sites that tourists seldom see. Adam H. Graham, WSJ, "Two Infallible Itineraries to Zurich—for $4,800 or $370 a day," 16 Apr. 2019 The case for him: Kethledge has Kavanaugh’s assets — solidly conservative jurisprudence; longtime Republican bona fides; an appropriate level of discretion in public comments about hot-button issues — without Kavanaugh’s paper trail. Dara Lind, Vox, "If Republicans sour on Kavanaugh, here are 4 alternatives waiting in the wings," 27 Sep. 2018 In only two seasons, the 22-year-old Colombian center back rose from South American darling to bona fide starter at the highest level of the Premier League. Juan Pimiento,, "From Tolisso to Lozano, players to watch in Russia 2018," 13 June 2018 The only thing that mattered from that game was Dylan Bundy looking like a bona fide frontline major league starter., "Instant analysis of the Orioles' 3-2 win over the Twins in 11 innings on Opening Day," 29 Mar. 2018 Foles was the quintessential NFL retread, bouncing around three teams in his first five years, never able to establish himself as a bona fide starter. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Which of today's free agent deals will be tomorrow's NFL busts?," 13 Mar. 2018 Now that the designer has brought Offset into the fold, the Migos rapper has officially turned bona fide fashion force. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Offset Walks the Runway at Off-White in Paris, Bumps Up His Fashion Swag Yet Again," 16 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bona fides.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bona fides

1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bona fides

Latin, literally, good faith

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Dictionary Entries near bona fides


bona confiscata

bona fide

bona fides




Statistics for bona fides

Last Updated

22 May 2019

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The first known use of bona fides was in 1665

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More Definitions for bona fides

bona fides


English Language Learners Definition of bona fides

formal : evidence which shows that what you have said about yourself is true : evidence showing that you deserve a position or that you can be trusted

bona fides

bo·​na fi·​des | \ ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-ˌdēz, commonly ˈbō-nə-ˌfīdz How to pronounce bona fides (audio) \

Legal Definition of bona fides

: good faith the fact that the plaintiff conducted an investigation demonstrated its bona fidesJeannette Glass Co. v. Indemnity Ins. Co. of North America, 88 A.2d 407 (1952) (dissent)

History and Etymology for bona fides


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


one that collects or salvages junk

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