an·​i·​mus | \ ˈa-nə-məs How to pronounce animus (audio) \

Definition of animus

1 : a usually prejudiced and often spiteful or malevolent ill will harbored an animus toward them … the sixties mentality, with its strong animus against what it defines as "elitism" …— Daniel J. Singal
2 : basic attitude or governing spirit : disposition, intention
3 : an inner masculine part of the female personality in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung — compare anima

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Choose the Right Synonym for animus

enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will. enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed. an unspoken enmity hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression. hostility between the two nations antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility. a natural antipathy for self-seekers antagonism between the brothers animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility. animosity that led to revenge rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong. rancor filled every line of his letters animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice. objections devoid of personal animus

Examples of animus in a Sentence

She felt an animus against them. feeling no animus toward those who had wronged her

Recent Examples on the Web

That block is home to Trump Tower, so renaming the street would require a change of address that would certainly pique Trump, whose irrational animus for all things Obama is well documented. Eric Zorn,, "When he goes low, let’s go lower! An appeal to rename Wabash Ave. for Obama," 20 Aug. 2019 Moderate Democrats are trying, albeit not always successfully, to hold the line against the radicals whose animus for Israel is fueled by intersectional theories that are fashionable on the far left. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Banning Omar and Tlaib May Help Trump, but It Hurts Israel," 16 Aug. 2019 His racial incitement and anti-immigrant animus sit badly with Jews. The Economist, "Donald Trump presses Israel into barring entry to American congresswomen," 16 Aug. 2019 Trump reserves special animus for Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, whose coverage has unsettled him. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "New York Times demotes editor after Twitter controversy as paper takes fire from left, right and within," 13 Aug. 2019 The intimate warmth of the doctor-patient relationship immediately dissolves into a frigid animus more typical of a legal proceeding. Richard Klasco, Time, "Don’t Get Mad if a Doctor Says They Need to Screen Your Child for Abuse," 30 July 2019 The Round of 16 showed us there will be no quiet exits from the tournament, especially as animus around officiating continues to fester. Julius Long And David Close, CNN, "Baseball royalty and rivalry, multiple World Cups and motor sports are ones to watch this weekend," 28 June 2019 His reelection strategy so far has placed racial animus at the forefront in an effort that his aides say is designed to activate his base of conservative voters, an approach not seen by an American president in the modern era. Jonathan Lemire, Twin Cities, "After pair of mass shootings, Trump remains out of sight," 4 Aug. 2019 Mayes alleged district officials did not address the driver's racial animus, bullying and harassment toward her son and other minority students. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "'Clearly a racist act': After biracial boy dragged by school bus, school settles lawsuit," 19 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'animus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of animus

1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for animus

Latin, spirit, mind, courage, anger

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Statistics for animus

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for animus

The first known use of animus was in 1795

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More Definitions for animus



English Language Learners Definition of animus

formal : a strong feeling of dislike or hatred


an·​i·​mus | \ ˈan-ə-məs How to pronounce animus (audio) \

Medical Definition of animus

: an inner masculine part of the female personality in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung — compare anima sense 1


an·​i·​mus | \ ˈa-nə-məs How to pronounce animus (audio) \

Legal Definition of animus

: intent discriminatory animus — compare mens rea

History and Etymology for animus

Latin, mind, soul

More from Merriam-Webster on animus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for animus Encyclopedia article about animus

Comments on animus

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


concealment of treason or felony

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