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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Bona fides looks like a plural word in English, but in Latin it is a singular noun that literally means "good faith." When bona fides entered English, it at first stayed very close to its Latin use, and it also kept its singular form—for example, "a claimant whose bona fides is unquestionable." But in the 20th century, use of bona fides began to widen, and it began to appear with a plural verb in certain contexts, such as "the informant's bona fides were ascertained."

Examples of bona fides in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rod Stewart guitarist Jim Cregan co-produced and ex-King Crimson skinsman Ian Wallace drummed on the LP, upping the ’70s bona fides. Matt Wake |, al, 2 Mar. 2022 So far, the attempts have not been successful, but the zeal of those on the political right to prove their conservative bona fides heightens the chances that strongly anti-tenure bills may be passed. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 Kruse did not feel his own bona fides were in question; one of the first photos posted to his campaign page showed him smiling with his arm around a cardboard cutout of Trump. Elaina Plott, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2020 But Hancock also wanted to establish that Maupin shouldn’t just be praised for his more experimental bona fides. Chris Willman, Variety, 8 Mar. 2022 In 2014, Modi swept to power nationally by touting his economic know-how, his corruption-free image and, more subtly, his Hindu nationalist bona fides. Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2022 Those clients are looking to reduce leaks and therefore losses, and embellish their environmental bona fides. Jim Morrison, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Jan. 2022 But the modest scale and local bona fides haven’t stopped locals like George Havranek from talking as though a supertall was coming to Throgs Neck. Valeria Ricciulli, Curbed, 9 Aug. 2021 In a bid to establish the U.K.’s environmental bona fides ahead of the conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the country will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2035. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of bona fides was in 1665

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bona fides.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bona fides

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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