[Ads-l] bona fide (adj.), 1755

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 30 12:37:14 EDT 2017

I was struck by Stephen Colbert’s pronunciation of “bona fide” not in the standard style of non-lawyers, “bonified”—which has indeed spawned the eggcornish orthographic reanalysis along these lines—or as the juridical “bon-uh FIE-dee”, both of which Ben mentions, but with the pronunciation that would have warmed the heart of my, and Colbert’s, Latin teachers, /‘bon@ fide/.

He was raised Catholic and attended parochial school, which probably explains it—we’d have to check to see if he uses /tS/ for <c> before front vowels, as in “c(h)eteris paribus” or “ecc(h)e homo”, to know whether his Latin is classical or church.


> On Jun 30, 2017, at 12:25 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> My latest WSJ column is on "bona fide," much in the news thanks to the
> SCOTUS ruling on the Trump administration's travel ban.
> https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-bona-fide-became-a-key-player-in-travel-ban-debate-1498835369
> Twitter link to follow if paywalled:
> https://twitter.com/bgzimmer/status/880815456113897472
> The OED entry hasn't been updated since... 1887? Anyway, I didn't see
> anything earlier than the OED's 1542-3 cite for adverbial "bona fide" on
> EEBO, but the adjectival sense is easily antedated (OED has 1788).
> Reports of Adjudged Cases in the Courts of Chancery, King's Bench, Common
> Pleas and Exchequer, Volume 2, 1755.
> p. 1162: And the sessions having held, that his taking to this acre, and
> living on it eight years, did not gain a settlement under 9 Geo. I. c. 7.
> which requires a /bona fide/ payment of 30 l.
> https://books.google.com/books?id=ogJLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1162
> p. 1207: [Y]et the bankrupt had in the mean time such a property in them,
> as enabled him to transact and sell to a /bona fide/ purchaser.
> https://books.google.com/books?id=ogJLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1207
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list