Bona fide

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Latin, literally, in good faith


  • 1 : made in good faith without fraud or deceit <a bona fide offer to buy a farm>
  • 2 : made with earnest intent : sincere
  • 3 : neither specious nor counterfeit : genuine


Good faith, or in Latin bona fides (bona fide means "in good faith"), is good, honest intention (even if producing unfortunate results) or belief. In law, it is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of a line of conduct. This concept is important in law, especially equitable matters.

In contemporary English, "bona fides" is sometimes used as a synonym for credentials, background, or documentation of a person's identity. "Show me your bona fides" can mean: Why should I trust you (your good faith in this matter)? Tell me who you are. In this sense, the phrase is sometimes used in job advertisements, and should not be confused with the bona fide occupational qualifications or the employer's good faith effort.