[boh-nah fee-des; English boh-nuh fahy-deez or especially for 2, boh-nuh-fahydz, bon-uh]
- (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.
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
They took it for granted that Jim had gone into his bona-fides and that he was "square."The Grell Mystery
- law good faith; honest intention
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
by 1838, English pluralization of bona fide, as though it were a noun meaning "guarantee of good faith."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper