Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

bona fides

[boh-nah fee-des; English boh-nuh fahy-deez or especially for 2, boh-nuh-fahydz, bon-uh] /ˈboʊ nɑ ˈfi dɛs; English ˈboʊ nə ˈfaɪ diz or especially for 2, ˈboʊ nəˌfaɪdz, ˈbɒn ə/
(italics) Latin. (used with a singular verb) good faith; absence of fraud or deceit; the state of being exactly as claims or appearances indicate:
The bona fides of this contract is open to question.
Compare mala fides.
(sometimes italics) (used with a plural verb) the official papers, documents, or other items that prove authenticity, legitimacy, etc., as of a person or enterprise; credentials:
All our bona fides are on file with the SEC.
Can be confused
bona fide, bona fides (see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
Bona fides is originally a Latin phrase meaning “good faith.” Fides is singular in Latin and has been used as such in English. At least partially because its -es ending makes bona fides look and sound like a plural, it has developed the plural sense “credentials.” This plural use, although criticized by some usage guides, has been increasing in recent decades in all varieties of speech and writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for bona fides
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of her bona fides there was no doubt, and she had introductions to various editors.

  • They did not need any identification; they were their own bona fides.

    History Repeats George Oliver Smith
  • This was the password that was to prove the bona fides of the man.

    The Cruise of the Thetis Harry Collingwood
  • Evidently he was endeavouring to satisfy himself as to my bona fides.

    Hushed Up William Le Queux
  • Miss Jessimina asked what had she done that I should be in dubitation as to her bona fides?

British Dictionary definitions for bona fides

bona fides

/ˈbəʊnə ˈfaɪdiːz/
(law) good faith; honest intention
Word Origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for bona fides

by 1838, English pluralization of bona fide, as though it were a noun meaning "guarantee of good faith."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for bona fides

Word Value for bona

Scrabble Words With Friends