bona fides

noun
bo·​na fi·​des | \ ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-ˌdēz, ÷ˈbō-nə-ˌfīdz \

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

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 The 570S Spider is a bona fide exotic for a super-expensive-sports-car price. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The McLaren 570S Spider Is Your Just-Won-the-Lottery Car," 12 Dec. 2018 The result is a new bona fide adventure in the story — one that could be an extended episode from the series, but which also fleshes out the characters and world just a bit more. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe," 20 Nov. 2018 The passing game still lacks a bona fide No. 1 receiver, and new coordinator Jeremy Bates will have to pick a quarterback. Albert Breer, SI.com, "AFC East Offseason Report Cards: Jets Getting it Right, Bills Go Full Rebuild, Dolphins Look for Leadership, Patriots Have New Question Marks," 8 June 2018 What Turner doesn’t have is a bona fide No. 1 receiver, according to Cowher. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Bill Cowher says Cam Newton, Panthers offense need more than Norv Turner," 17 Jan. 2018 Next up, bona fide country man Chris Stapleton — whose band featured Nashville superproducer Dave Cobb — wowed the pro-country crowd with his thick-and-rich baritone as sweetly rugged as a bourbon barrel stave. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Review: Joe Walsh’s VetsAid was a familial star-powered party at Tacoma Dome, raising $1.2 million," 12 Nov. 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.

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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

bonaci

bona confiscata

bona fide

bona fides

bonaght

bonailie

Bonaire

Statistics for bona fides

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for bona fides

The first known use of bona fides was in 1665

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More Definitions for bona fides

bona fides

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bona fides

: 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 \

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

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