Definition of animus in US English:



  • 1Hostility or ill feeling.

    ‘the author's animus toward her’
    • ‘The Brahmins were known for their tendency to absorb, assimilate and upgrade deities, not for exhibiting animus towards them.’
    • ‘The animus of your reporter to my comments was clearly evident in the story he wrote, especially in citing the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, an advocacy organization that has falsely attributed stories to me in the past.’
    • ‘I have absolutely no animus towards Bloomberg, and he if he was running against Sharpton, I'd certainly vote for him.’
    • ‘Both parties walk away with a clean reputation and no animus toward the other.’
    • ‘Of course it reflects Dostoevsky's animus toward Catholicism, but it depicts the temptation to which religion, and all forms of Christian religion, not just Catholicism, are susceptible.’
    • ‘He insists, not entirely convincingly, that he harbours no animus towards the First Minister.’
    • ‘They also required the University to take no action motivated by hostility, animus, or disapproval toward Brady's pregnancy.’
    • ‘Fournier is, perhaps because of his animus toward the Vice-President, no stickler for accuracy.’
    • ‘For his part, Walsh declines to respond to Armstrong's bitter personal criticism in kind, and he displays no outward signs of animus toward the Tour champion.’
    • ‘Ponting's animus toward Churchill never reaches Irving's level of contempt but he has his moments.’
    • ‘To a man they deny any animus toward the Chinese.’
    • ‘Covett's animus, directed in the early pages at rivals among the other teachers for Sheba's affections, gives Heller the excuse to indulge herself in some very funny, mean-minded reflections.’
    • ‘Though it is not clear what lies at the root of Kennedy's anger, it long predates his involvement in Bristol; indeed his animus against the medical profession was already evident in his Reith Lectures more than 20 years earlier.’
    • ‘In his letter, Jenkins suggests that Wills' animus toward him is related to his deeper animus toward the Catholic Church.’
    • ‘The first lady never overcame her animus toward the Bushes and the feeling was heartily reciprocated.’
    • ‘Jenkins, an Episcopalian, has no such inhibitions and here offers a spirited account of how deep, pervasive, and multifaceted is the elite culture's animus toward the Catholic Church.’
    • ‘There are more and more articles being written about the intense animus toward president Bush among Democratic partisans.’
    • ‘Despite Windschuttle's denials, the rise of pastoralism ushered in an era of heightened racial animus towards Aborigines.’
    • ‘Soelle's animus toward the church is just as implacable.’
    • ‘The animus and hostility and the intensity of feeling evidenced by this act of the accused does not outweigh its prejudicial effect.’
    hostility, animosity, antagonism, friction, antipathy, opposition, dissension, rivalry, feud, conflict, discord, contention
    View synonyms
  • 2Motivation to do something.

    ‘the reformist animus came from within the Party’
    • ‘Motivation refers to the animus for behavior and includes the affective aspects of attitudes, desires, ends, aims, goals, objectives, desired end states, and the like.’
    • ‘In his book, he suggests there was such an irrational animus.’
    • ‘Yet while in other French cities the violence continues, in Marseille the animus soon fizzled out.’
    • ‘A advance synopsis of the programme on the website of CTVC, the production company that made it, revealed the animus that lay behind it.’
    • ‘Whether this constitutes ‘an animus to economic reasoning,’ I cannot say.’
    • ‘Isn't this pretty much the animus behind advanced capitalism?’
    • ‘The ideology of the organising cadre or party is adopted, and its rhetoric comes to be used to express the anger which is the animus of the revolution.’
    • ‘It is true that a nationalistic animus did not rally the Russian people into a cohesive national body with the idea of restoring the country's international standing regardless of the cost, as was the case in 1933 Germany.’
    • ‘Shiva, rather than Brahma, is the animus behind Fight Club.’
  • 3Psychoanalysis
    Jung's term for the masculine part of a woman's personality.

    Often contrasted with anima
    • ‘It allows my animus and anima to express themselves in unison.’
    • ‘The depiction of the animus as a lover is common and reinforced here through erotic language.’
    • ‘I always felt like I had a strong animus but it seemed to be a terrible thing when it came to relationships.’
    • ‘Even though exploring the anima and animus can be enriching, healthy, or just plain fun - hurting other people is not an acceptable outcome.’
    • ‘Not least of the obstacles he would encounter in life were the animus and violence of the reactionary throngs.’
    • ‘Should art - high or low - only inspire the animus, not the anima?’
    • ‘This is specially true of the animus and anima, for their quest for completion is rendered more imperative by the nagging insistence of sexual desire.’
    • ‘In that sense, the power that a female feels from the male - the animus, in Jungian terms - is a specification of the female power, a mode of application of the power.’
    • ‘Ordinarily of course, self-directed aggression conflicts with the life instinct, especially it's self-preservative component, the animus.’
    • ‘He also identified the anima (an archetype of female wisdom) and the animus (the embodiment of masculine qualities).’


Early 19th century: from Latin, ‘spirit, mind’.