SCOTUS: 'Bona Fide' relationships

"Made in good faith without fraud or deceit"


Bona fide was among our top lookups on June 26th, 2017, after it was used in a Supreme Court ruling dealing with the implementation of an executive order by President Trump.

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Specifically, it maintains the injunctions with respect to entry by “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
—Ilya Somin, The Washington Post, 26 Jun. 2017

Bona fide comes directly from Latin, in which language it means "in good faith." In modern use it is typically encountered as an adjective (as the Supreme Court used it) meaning "made in good faith, sincere", or as a noun, written in plural form ("as evidence of her bona fides she showed us her collection of guinea pig drawings"), with meanings such as " good faith" or "evidence of qualifications."

Bona Fide may also be found used as an adverb, which was its earliest form in English use, beginning in the 16th century.

Onely Hillarius Bishop of Chichester, perceyuing the king to be exasperate with that addition, in stead of Saluo ordine suo, was agreed to obserue them bona fide.
—Richard Grafton, A Chronicle at Large, 1569

Where he desyres vs to aggre all controuersies amonge our teacheris: we answer, bona fide, that we know no controuersie in doctrine, especially of that which concernes mannes saluation within the Realme of Scotland.
—John Knox, An Answer to a Letter, 1572



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