Synonym Chooser

How does the noun animus differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of animus are animosity, antagonism, antipathy, enmity, hostility, and rancor. While all these words mean "deep-seated dislike or ill will," animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice.

objections devoid of personal animus

When is animosity a more appropriate choice than animus?

The synonyms animosity and animus are sometimes interchangeable, but animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility.

animosity that led to revenge

How do antipathy and antagonism relate to one another, in the sense of animus?

Both 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

When would enmity be a good substitute for animus?

The words enmity and animus can be used in similar contexts, but enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed.

an unspoken enmity

When might hostility be a better fit than animus?

While in some cases nearly identical to animus, hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.

hostility between the two nations

When is it sensible to use rancor instead of animus?

While the synonyms rancor and animus are close in meaning, rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong.

rancor filled every line of his letters


Thesaurus Entries Near animus

Cite this Entry

“Animus.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on animus

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!