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) An act or series of acts, considered as separate from the intentions or state of mind of the perpetrator in the context of criminal law. [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.

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