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bona fides

[boh-nah fee-des; English boh-nuh fahy-deez or especially for 2, boh-nuh-fahydz, bon-uh]
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noun
  1. (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.
  2. (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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Can be confusedbona 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bona fides

Historical Examples

  • 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

noun
  1. law good faith; honest intention
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for bona fides

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper