Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An attitude that informs one's actions; disposition.
  • n. A feeling of animosity; ill will. See Synonyms at enmity.
  • n. In Jungian psychology, the masculine inner personality as present in women.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The basic impulses and instincts which govern one's actions.
  • n. A feeling of enmity, animosity or ill will.
  • n. The masculine aspect of the feminine psyche or personality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Animating spirit; intention; temper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Intention; purpose; spirit; temper; especially, hostile spirit or angry temper; animosity: as, the animus with which a book is written.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility

Etymologies

Latin; see anə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin animus ("the mind, in a great variety of meanings: the rational soul in man, intellect, consciousness, will, intention, courage, spirit, sensibility, feeling, passion, pride, vehemence, wrath, etc., the breath, life, soul"), closely related to anima, which is a feminine form; see anima. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It's strange that conservatives reflexively counsel welfare recipients to take responsibility and get off the dole, and yet are unwilling to acknowledge what common sense and the data linked to above clearly demonstrate: anti-American animus is largely the result of American foreign policy.

    Barry Eisler: Fictional Politics

  • “I should scarcely expect any animus from a man of your acquirements and knowledge of the world,” the Judge was saying.

    The Benefit of the Doubt

  • While Governor Huckabee has suffered a few unwarranted attacks, such as deconstructions of his good-hearted Christmas commercial, the notion that criticism of his candidacy stems from anti-evangelical animus is at best silly and at worst a form of pernicious “identity politics”.

    Faith, Reason and Michael Huckabee

  • I mean, I get that faculty meetings have a strong impulse towards consensus, and a stronger re-writing of the process to create retroactively unanimous consensus (with a good measure of back-pocket, long-term animus thrown in just for fun), but why not just report out that there is division on an issue, and that the (sub)-committee is not yet ready to endorse position 1 or 2.

    Kids know what's important.

  • The real basis for Praz's animus is not a pleasant one to contemplate, but is clearly set out a pp. 385-86.

    The Beauty of the Medusa: A Study in Romantic Literary Iconology

  • "I should scarcely expect any animus from a man of your acquirements and knowledge of the world," the Judge was saying.

    The Benefit of the Doubt

  • "I should scarcely expect any animus from a man of your acquirements and knowledge of the world," the judge was saying.

    The Benefit of the Doubt

  • I’m not sure I understand what, exactly, you have against this guy but your animus is resting on a thin reed here.

    Matthew Yglesias » Dennis Ross is So Very Special

  • The lizard brain can’t tell the difference, as long as it gets to yell and scream and wear paint, and there’s much less real violence when the animus is redirected into the safe, simulated environment of team sports.

    Organized Sports Teaches Us Nothing | Heretical Ideas Magazine

  • So yes, a lot of anti-gay animus is rooted in anxiety, not about one’s own orientation, but about the fragility of gender roles and male dominance.

    Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

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