Saturday, September 4, 2010

bona fides



1 : good faith : sincerity
2 : evidence of one's good faith or genuineness
3 : evidence of one's qualifications or achievements

I have to admit, I had no idea of the correct pronunciation of this word. FYE-deez. I'm sure I've heard it dozens of times, and either I never picked up on this or EVERYONE is mispronouncing the word. Latin!, people. Take it in.

Merriam points out that while this word is a singular noun, over time it has been more frequently used in the plural, i.e.: My BONA FIDES have yet to be determined. This is a poor, effortless example, but I am accentuating the plural use of have over the singular use of has. Simple. To the point. But this is also somewhat contradictory, because I do in fact believe my BONA FIDES have been determined. So, while I have BONA FIDES, this paragraph does not.

BONA FIDES reminds me fondly of the designation "good people." I don't hear this much anymore; there was a period a few years ago when this phrase was thrown around a bit. If someone was trustworthy, genuine, and cool, he/she would be referred to as "good people" (interestingly, this is another example of the blurry line between singular and plural). But the only people who could declare such a designation would themselves also have to be "good people," otherwise they could not be trusted with such responsibility of judgment. This then suggests there has to have been an original "good person." Who could this be? Abe Lincoln? Martin Luther King Junior? Conan O'Brien? Oh, what a paradox!

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