mens rea

noun
\ˈmenz-ˈrē-ə, -ˈrā-ə\

Definition of mens rea 

: criminal intent

Examples of mens rea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

ANONYMOUS Wrongdoing generally requires two elements: a guilty act, actus reus, and a guilty mind, mens rea. Philip Galanes, New York Times, "Is Extra Help Hurting My Friend With Autism?," 19 Apr. 2018 Most significantly, the government contends that Lee had the necessary mens rea — the criminal-intent element — to commit the felony retention offense. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Former CIA Agent Arrested for Mishandling Classified Information," 17 Jan. 2018 Reimer said when asked about concerns that mens rea reform would help companies evade regulatory charges. Matt Ford, The Atlantic, "Could a Controversial Bill Sink Criminal-Justice Reform in Congress?," 26 Oct. 2017 This time mens rea reform proponents have gone out of their way to enlist the support of left-leaning criminal-defense attorneys. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "The Obscure Legal Issue That May Foil Criminal-Justice Reform," 26 Oct. 2017 The office of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, another Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said any mens rea reform would need to be narrowly tailored, not comprehensive and retroactive. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "The Obscure Legal Issue That May Foil Criminal-Justice Reform," 26 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mens rea.' 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 mens rea

1861, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mens rea

New Latin, literally, guilty mind

New Latin, literally, guilty mind

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The first known use of mens rea was in 1861

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More Definitions for mens rea

mens rea

noun
\ˈmenz-ˈrē-ə, -ˈrā- \
plural mentes reae\ˈmen-ˌtēz-ˈrē-ˌē, ˈmen-ˌtās-ˈrā-ˌī \

Legal Definition of mens rea 

: 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

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