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 Threatt’s complaint contends that prior to his termination a culture of racial animus existed at the authority. al, "Fired CEO sues Sylacauga Housing Authority over racial discrimination," 21 Jan. 2020 The Vancouver woman is now fearful of entering retail stores because of potential racial animus, profiling or unfounded accusations, her lawyers wrote. oregonlive, "African-American shopper accuses Spirit Halloween store staff of racial discrimination for alleging she was shoplifting," 14 Jan. 2020 In doing so, Horwitz implicitly rejected assertions by the president and fellow Republicans that the case was launched out of political animus, or that the FBI broke its own rules on using informants. Anchorage Daily News, "FBI was justified in opening Trump campaign probe, but case plagued by ‘serious failures,’ inspector general finds," 9 Dec. 2019 The announcement sparked a lawsuit from advocacy groups, African Communities Together and Undocublack, and fifteen Liberian DED holders, which cited racial animus as the president’s motive for terminating the program. Chidinma Irene Nwoye, Quartz Africa, "A surprise provision in a Trump defense bill has granted a path to citizenship for 4,000 Liberians," 3 Jan. 2020 Byron Allen, in a complex suit against Comcast, has accused the cable giant of engaging in racial animus vis-a-vis its decision not to carry programming from his network. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Mo’Nique Takes Netflix to Task Over Racial and Gender Bias in 39-Page Discrimination Suit," 14 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for animus

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The first known use of animus was in 1795

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Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Animus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for animus


How to pronounce animus (audio)

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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