- (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.
- law good faith; honest intention
by 1838, English pluralization of bona fide, as though it were a noun meaning “guarantee of good faith.”