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 analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung — compare anima

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

Did you know?

Animus has long referred to the rational or animating components of a person's psyche (it derives from Latin animus, which can mean "spirit," "mind," "courage," or "anger"). Since a key animating component of personality can be temper, the word came to mean animosity, especially ill will that is driven by strong prejudice. The term is also used in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung in reference to an inner masculine part of the female personality. The English animus is closely related to words such as animosity, magnanimous, and unanimous, but it is not as closely related to other similar-looking terms such as animal and animate. Those latter terms derive from the Latin anima, a distinct term that means "soul" or "breath" and that suggests someone's physical vitality or life force—the breath of life.

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 Tarrio also told investigators that the animus between him and Rhodes can be traced back to a falling out in 2019, following an incident in Portland, Oregon. Scott Macfarlane, CBS News, 21 Apr. 2022 The last of which was the animus behind two new bills signed into law this fall allowing for denser construction in California’s cities and suburbs. Ray Levy Uyeda, The New Republic, 9 Dec. 2021 While James’s statements could reflect political or personal animus toward Trump, the judge said, her comments were not enough to prove that the attorney general had infringed upon Trump’s rights. Ben Protess,, 27 May 2022 In recent years, those issues have galvanized greater animus toward China among Democratic and Republican politicians and policymakers. New York Times, 26 May 2022 All the while playing without animus toward Stevens or his former Celtics preseason teammates. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 19 May 2022 Now the Fraternal Order of Police has come out against her because of her seeming animus to cops. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 9 May 2022 Miller has a federal civil suit pending against the county, arguing that the investigation of Woofin Palooza was motivated by a county animus toward the owners and that the business owners had committed no crimes. oregonlive, 6 May 2022 The White House on Saturday tried unsuccessfully to contain the controversy, saying Biden's remarks were about the global impact of Putin's animus, not a call for Putin's immediate removal. NBC News, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Animus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for animus


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 analytical 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 Encyclopedia article about animus


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