bona fides

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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, chicagotribune.com, "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. baltimoresun.com, "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 In the November midterm elections, several candidates for governor and congressional offices campaigned — and won — on their climate change bona fides. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Climate and energy news in 2018 actually wasn’t all bad," 1 Jan. 2019 The ratio of shoppers to bona fide employees is over 116 to 1. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Instacart changes how it pays shoppers, but many say they’re now making less," 18 Nov. 2018 Even name recognition and party bona fides are no guarantee of success. Christina A. Cassidy, The Seattle Times, "More than 20 states have never had a woman as governor," 29 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of bona fides

1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bona fides

Latin, literally, good faith

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bona fides

Listen to Our Podcast about bona fides

Dictionary Entries near bona fides

bonaci

bona confiscata

bona fide

bona fides

bonaght

bonailie

Bonaire

Statistics for bona fides

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bona fides

The first known use of bona fides was in 1665

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bona fides

bona fides

noun

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

noun
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

Latin

More from Merriam-Webster on bona fides

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bona fides

Comments on bona fides

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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