Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know

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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for bona fides
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is better to deal with slighter relics, of which we know the bona fides, than with an abundance of such as have been falsified.

  • Evidently he was endeavouring to satisfy himself as to my bona fides.

    Hushed Up William Le Queux
  • She believed very much in Crane's bona fides, and had no doubt whatever but his statement of the case was absolutely truthful.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The quality was uniform; there was bona fides; and the names helped.

    The Confessions of a Collector William Carew Hazlitt
  • Raven'll be doubting the bona fides of his own footmen and his own garden lads next.

    Ravensdene Court J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher
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

Difficulty index for bona fides

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for bona

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for bona fides