mens rea

[ menz ree-uh ]
/ ˈmɛnz ˈri ə /

noun Law.

a criminal intent.


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Origin of mens rea

First recorded in 1860–65, mens rea is from the New Latin word mēns rea Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for mens rea

mens rea
/ (ˈmɛnz ˈreɪə) /


law a criminal intention or knowledge that an act is wrong. It is assumed to be an ingredient of all criminal offences although some minor statutory offences are punishable irrespective of itCompare actus reus

Word Origin for mens rea

Latin, literally: guilty mind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012