Latinismos : Expressions with animus

Many legal translators simply choose not to translate Latin expressions into English or Spanish, leaving them as they appear in the original text. And, indeed, there are certainly dozens of latinismos used “as is” in both legal Spanish and legal English. Nevertheless, many of them do have accepted renderings in the other language that should probably be used instead of the Latin in translated texts. And when the Latin phrase in question is not in general use in the other language, a definitional translation may be warranted. In blog entries under Latinismos I will highlight some of the Latin expressions that I have encountered most often in my work.

Latin expressions with animus

Spanish legal texts (particularly textbooks on Derecho civil and Derecho procesal) are riddled with dozens of Latin expressions containing the word animus, denoting “willingness,” “intent” or “intention.” The required animus contrahendi, for example, must be present in order for parties to enter into a valid contract, or the presence of animus auctoris will determine whether the perpetrator of a crime actually acted with criminal intent. Here are these and some of the other expressions with animus that translators may encounter in their work:

  • animus auctoris—intention or will to perpetrate a crime
  • animus contrahendi—intention to enter into a contract
  • animus derelinquendi—intention of abandoning property
  • animus domini—intent to own
  • animus donandi—intention of giving; intent to make a gift (donación)
  • animus furandi—intent to steal or commit theft
  • animus laedendi—intent to injure
  • animus necandi—intent to kill (willful element of homicide)
  • animus nocendi—intent to harm or cause damage
  • animus novandi—intention of the original parties to an obligation to replace an existing obligation or party to an obligation with a new one (novación)
  • animus possidendi—intention to possess as owner
  • animus recuperandi—intention to recover property
  • animus revocandi—intention to revoke a will
  • animus socii—intention or willingness to assist in the commission of a crime as accomplice
  • animus solvendi—intention of paying a debt or discharging an obligation (also rendered in Spanish as ánimo solutorio)
  • animus spoliandi—intent to deprive or dispossess another of possession or enjoyment of property or rights in property
  • animus testandi—testamentary intent; intention to make a will
  • animus transigendi—willingness to make concessions or compromise; willingness to settle or to enter into a settlement agreement (transigir)

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