Definition of actus reus in English:

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actus reus

Pronunciation: /ˌaktəs ˈrēəs/ Pronunciation: /ˈrāəs/


Action or conduct that is a constituent element of a crime, as opposed to the mental state of the accused. Compare with mens rea.
Example sentences
  • Now decide whether the elements of the actus reus are conduct, prohibited consequences, or circumstances.
  • The remaining portion would merely have held the intent to do so and lacked the required actus reus.
  • Generally, before conviction for a crime can take place, it must be shown that the accused committed the actus reus by either intending to do so or behaving carelessly in doing so.


Early 20th century: Latin, literally 'guilty act'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·tus re·us

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