I’m looking for a word that means something like “proof that I can trust you / them / me / it.”

If there isn’t an English word, but you know of one that can be borrowed from another language, that would be swell as well!

EDIT: Here is an example usage in poem format, regarding the qualities of a relationship that are needed.

I need love

I need care

I need ______

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    Like a guarantee? – Cascabel Jul 22 at 16:31
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    I'm having trouble getting my head around the request. Could you give an example of how the word might be used in a sentence? – TaliesinMerlin Jul 22 at 16:32
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    Maybe you’re looking for assurances – Jim Jul 22 at 16:53
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    Maybe evidence would work... – Karlomanio Jul 22 at 17:03
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    Hello, Milo, and welcome to EL&U. Could you please edit with a sample sentence as required by the SWR tag? – Cascabel Jul 22 at 17:24

The intended usage is not very clear from the question, but a relevant option might be vouch for:

to support the truth of something or the good character of someone, based on your knowledge or experience

An example (from the same source) that seems to fit the usage you want:

I’ve known him for years and can vouch for his honesty.

  • This is definitely in the ballpark. I added an example that I hope helps to clarify my intended use. – milo Jul 22 at 17:29
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    @milo How about "trustworthiness"? – GoodDeeds Jul 22 at 17:31

Bona fides


a person's honesty and sincerity of intention. "he went to great lengths to establish his liberal bona fides"


documentary evidence showing a person's legitimacy; credentials. plural noun: bona fides; plural noun: bonafides "are you satisfied with my bona fides?"

From Google’s dictionary. New Oxford American Dictionary.


To Vet

Proof of the reliability or credibility of someone can come from vetting that person.

Prior to becoming the candidate's supporters, they made sure she had been vetted by people who had dealings with her in the past.

Or, for example, you could ask a person you want to know you can trust,

Have you been vetted by your past employers?


Would you mind if I vetted you by calling your former employers?

To Vouch

In a similar vein, you could ask the person who says he is trustworthy,

Can you vouch for your reliability?


Can Mrs. Overstreet vouch for you?

In other words, you are asking if the person can prove his or her reliability, thus giving you assurances he or she will do what was promised.

You could also approach another person who knows the person you are vetting and ask him or her,

Can you vouch for Sarah's reliability? Has she ever made promises to you she didn't keep?

To Vouchsafe

Or, in wording which is probably archaic,

Are you willing to vouchsafe Sarah's trustworthiness to us?

Say your father, for example, were to cosign a loan for you he could say to the loan officer,

I'll be happy to vouchsafe the loan for my daughter.

To Become Surety

A little off the mark, but somewhat related, is the concept of surety. One of the quickest ways of giving proof to someone that you trust them is by co-signing on a loan they are taking out.

Becoming surety for a stranger or for someone you do not really know that well, however, is asking for trouble. You are foolish to cosign a loan without proof that a person is reliable, trustworthy, and faithful.

The third party in the above scenario could be a bank. The bank wants assurances the borrower has someone as a back-up should the borrower default on the loan. Perhaps the borrower has not yet established credit and needs someone to cosign a loan, thus becoming surety for both the borrower and the bank. Sometimes the borrower's credit is a little spotty. Interestingly, the word surety is related etymologically to the word assurance, meaning proof which gives peace of mind to someone. A bank officer, for example, might ask you,

Are you willing to become surety for Mr. Williams, in the event he defaults on this loan?

The Earnest and The Deposit

Another evidence or proof of a person's sincerity is the earnest. We do not use the word very much today, favoring the phrase "down payment." The earnest, or down payment is a form of proof that you can trust the person who, for example, wants to buy something from you but cannot come up with all the money right away. The buyer will give you some earnest money to show good faith that he or she is definitely interested in purchasing your item.

Another word for earnest is deposit. Under some circumstances, if the contract specifies it, a deposit is not refundable. If for whatever reason (and the reasons are specified in the contract, whether verbal or written) the person does not follow up the deposit by paying the balance due, well, tough noogies.


“Fidelity” seems right in this instance - “the state of being faithful.”


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