[ sahy-en-ter ]
/ saɪˈɛn tər /


a mental state in which one has knowledge that one’s action, statement, etc., is wrong, deceptive, or illegal: often used as a standard of guilt: The court found that the company had the requisite scienter for securities fraud.


knowingly or deliberately: His wife’s statements were made scienter.

Nearby words

  1. science,
  2. science dictionary,
  3. science fiction,
  4. science museum,
  5. science park,
  6. scientia est potentia,
  7. sciential,
  8. scientific,
  9. scientific content analysis,
  10. scientific creationism

Origin of scienter

< Latin scienter ‘knowingly’ < scient- (stem of sciēns); see science Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for scienter


/ (saɪˈɛntə) /


law knowingly; wilfully

Word Origin for scienter

from Latin

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

Word Origin and History for scienter



legalese Latin, literally "knowingly," from sciens, present participle of scire "to know" (see science) + adverbial suffix -ter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper