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

This year, 250 retailers will compete against Amazon by offering deals of their own, making the day into a bona fide shopping holiday. Kate Dwyer, Fortune, "Technology Sales Shine in a $52.96 billion Back-to-School Season," 12 July 2019 Make a deal for Beal, and the Nuggets have not one bona fide all-star, but two in their starting lineup. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Nuggets need one more big piece to be legit championship contenders. His name? Bradley Beal.," 9 July 2019 Norway’s forward-thinking approach to transportation has become not just a point of pride for the country but a bona fide means of attracting tourism. Brett Berk, WIRED, "Norway Invites You to Explore Its Electric Vehicle Paradise," 6 July 2019 In addition to corporate parties, birthday outings and tourists, Flightdeck attracts its fair share of bona fide pilots and flight students, Leong said. Bradley Zint,, "Become a pilot for a day at Anaheim’s Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center," 3 July 2019 And Shun is indeed just that—a welcome escape from the urban jungle and a bona fide culinary journey all rolled into one. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "This New Restaurant's Art Deco-Inspired Interiors Are as Enticing as the Menu," 2 July 2019 Pechman issued an injunction in April ordering the government to give migrants with bona fide asylum claims the opportunity to seek bail within seven days of a request. Gene Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Judge asked to block new U.S. policy keeping asylum-seekers locked up," 29 June 2019 The trade last week that sent Dominik Kahun to the Penguins for Olli Maatta added a bona fide NHL defenseman who can play 18-20 minutes a game. Jimmy Greenfield,, "‘There will be more trades to come’: NHL free agency is almost here, but that’s just one way Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is looking to improve the roster," 22 June 2019 Pechman issued an injunction in April ordering the government to give migrants with bona fide asylum claims the opportunity to seek bail within seven days of a request. Washington Post, "Judge weighs new US policy keeping asylum seekers locked up," 28 June 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

17 Jul 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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something desired as essential

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