I'm really confused here.

The dictionary definitions overlap, and memorizing them only confuses me further.

I would really appreciate some tips on this matter.


Bona fide:

A Latin phrase that literally means "in good faith" and generally means good intentions and complete absence of deceit. As in:

Even though the results turned out to be questionable, it was a bona fide attempt to make things right.


This adjective denotes the truthfulness, actuality, and legitimacy of an item or matter. The original Latin word means "natural."

The antiques they have to offer are genuine, not fake.


Not a copy. Not a knock-off. The real McCoy.

The Rembrandt they sold at that auction is most certainly authentic, and you'd know this if you'd taken the time to examine closely some of its aspects.

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I think the following definitions and usage examples from the AHD clearly explain its meaning and usage:

Bona fide:

1) Made or carried out in good faith; sincere: a bona fide offer.

2) Authentic; genuine: a bona fide Rembrandt.

As noted by the Grammarist:

The phrase bona fide comes directly from the Latin bona fides, which means, roughly, good faith. In modern English, bona fide (without the s) is usually an adjective meaning (1) made or carried out in good faith or (2) real or genuine.

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