bona fides [ boh-nah fee-des; English boh-nuh fahy-deez or especially for 2, boh-nuh-fahydz, bon-uh ]
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.
CAN BE CONFUSED
bona fide (see usage note)
genuine, legitimate, authentic, authoritative, credible, natural, official, original, pure, real, rightful, straight, unquestionable, veritable, card-carrying, actual, honest, kosher, valid, true
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.
Origin: Latin, literally, good faith
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