Legal Dictionary

bona fide

Legal Definition of bona fide


  1. Acting or carried out in good faith

    Example: bona-fide transactions
  2. Legitimate

    Example: bona-fide owners

Related terms

Definition of bona fide

Alternative spellings

  • bonâ fide



    From the Latin bonā fid" ("in good faith") which is the ablative of bona fid"s ("good faith").


bona fide (not comparable)

  1. Done in good faith.

    Although he failed, the prime minister made a bona fide attempt to repair the nation's damaged economy.

  2. Genuine; not counterfeit.

    This is a bona fide Roman coin.
    * 2000: O Brother Where Art Thou? (movie),
    Ulysses Everett McGill: I am the only daddy you got! I'm the damn paterfamilias!
    Wharvey Gal: But you ain't bona fide!


  • (done in good faith): sincere
  • (genuine): authentic, genuine

See also

  • bona fides
  • mala fide

Further reading

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, as described below.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of bona fide in Malay

bona fide


  1. bona fide


1.     quorum
2.     scienter
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     AORO
6.     adjudication order
7.     lex domicilii
8.     Miranda warning
9.     lex patriae
10.     lex loci celebrationis