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

In upholding Trump’s travel ban, the Supreme Court dismissed the argument that clear expressions of bigotry and hostility — religious animus, specifically — prove discriminatory intent and undermine any claim of credible government action. Dan Rodricks,, "Anti-Muslim prejudice matters in a Maryland county, but not at the White House?," 28 June 2018 The Easter Sunday slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka is a jolting reminder that killers motivated by religious animus continue to be a threat to innocents around the world. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Massacre of Christians," 21 Apr. 2019 If anything, Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail present far more damning evidence of religious animus than anything said by a Colorado civil-rights commissioner. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Why Trump Should Worry About the Supreme Court’s Cakeshop Ruling," 4 June 2018 Now the United States Supreme Court recently ruled this animus theory which was used in the Trump travel ban cases is bogus and not one of the elements that should be applied. Fox News, "Media downplay Trump administration's economic successes," 28 July 2018 Tracking polls in last week’s special House election near Pittsburgh revealed Trump animus motivated far more voters to overcome the district’s long-term GOP tilt and narrowly elect a Democrat. San Francisco Chronicle, "Both political parties are more dysfunctional than Trump White House," 21 Mar. 2018 But his animus toward Germany, which spends about 1.24 percent of its G.D.P. on defense and has a large trade surplus with the United States, came out in fierce and startling terms. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Trump vs. Merkel: Blistering Salvo Meets Quiet Rejoinder," 11 July 2018 Voters driven by their animus for President Trump helped Gov. Ralph Northam win the district by 11 points last year and gave Democrats reason to believe Comstock could be beat. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, "Message, turnout and luck: Six Democrats try to make their marks in the race to face Comstock," 19 May 2018 The suit — along with a second one brought by the Department of Justice — accused the New Jersey township of caving to anti-Muslim animus in the community and discriminating against the society in denying its years-long bid to build a mosque. Chris Fuchs /, NBC News, "'We're going to stand up for ourselves': Why this lawyer sued two towns that denied mosques," 12 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

10 Jun 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

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