Bona Fide Meaning, Origin and Application

By | August 3, 2021

Last Updated on by Admin LB

The legal maxim, Bona Fide” means, being genuine or with earnest intent. In this article, Sahajpreet Bhusari explains the meaning of the maxim with examples.

Origin and Meaning

Bona Fide is a legal maxim of Latin origin. Bona means ‘good’ and Fide means ‘trust or faith’ and hence the maxim bona fide literally means ‘in good faith’. The antonym of bona fide is male fide.


Bona-fide is a reference to the intention of the person behind the execution of a certain act. It is a term used to describe something made or done in good faith without any attempts to cheat or defraud. Bona-fide relates to being genuine.


It is mainly used in law and business. All acts must be done in good faith while entering transactions. When an act or contract has been entered into in good faith, the dishonest or mala fide acts will not make it look less valid.

If any dishonest acts make it look less, the person who created them might have to prove the validity of the same. Let us take a look at a few examples in order to understand the usage of the term:

Example 1: Title deeds are a clear indication of bona fide ownership.

Example 2: The offer was a bona fide business opportunity i.e. the business was genuine.

Example 3: It is presumed by the court that the person appearing before the court is bona fide.

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