actus reus

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Late Latin actus reus (guilty act), from Latin āctus (act) + reus (guilty), after mens rea.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌaktəsˈɹeɪəs/, /ˌaktəsˈɹiːəs/

Noun[edit]

actus reus (plural actus rei)

  1. (law) A criminal act, considered as separate from the intentions or state of mind of the perpetrator. [from 20th c.]
    • 2011, Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Penguin 2012, page 610:
      A brute emotional reflex to the actus reus, the bad act (‘She killed her husband! Shame!’), could trigger an urge for retribution regardless of her intention.

See also[edit]