Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

mens rea

play
noun \ˈmenz-ˈrē-ə, -ˈrā-ə\

Definition of mens rea

  1. :  criminal intent



Origin and Etymology of mens rea

New Latin, literally, guilty mind


First Known Use: 1861


Law Dictionary

mens rea

play
noun \ˈmenz-ˈrē-ə, -ˈrā-\

Legal Definition of mens rea

plural

mentes reae

\ˈmen-ˌtēz-ˈrē-ˌē, ˈmen-ˌtās-ˈrā-ˌī\
  1. :  a culpable mental state; especially :  one involving intent or knowledge and forming an element of a criminal offense <murder contains a mens rea element> — compare actus reus



Origin and Etymology of mens rea

New Latin, literally, guilty mind


Learn More about mens rea


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mens rea? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not forbidden by law

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

estival vernal hiemal brumal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ