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 /

noun

(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.

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Origin of bona fides

First recorded in 1845–50; from Latin bona fidēs “good faith”

usage note for bona fides

Bona fides is from the singular Latin phrase bona fidēs , meaning “good faith,” and has the same meaning in English. But 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 all varieties of speech and writing.
The adjective bona fide (without the “s”) is from a Latin phrase meaning “in good faith, with good faith.” It was originally used adverbially in this sense, but is now mainly an adjective. The meaning “authentic, true” is a later development sometimes denounced as sloppy usage, but its use is bona fide and widespread.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH bona fides

bona fide, bona fides (see usage note at the current entry)

Words nearby bona fides

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for bona fides

  • They took it for granted that Jim had gone into his bona-fides and that he was "square."

    The Grell Mystery|Frank Froest

British Dictionary definitions for bona fides

bona fides
/ (ˈbəʊnə ˈfaɪdiːz) /

noun

law good faith; honest intention

Word Origin for bona fides

Latin
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