Word of the Day for Sunday, 18 November 2018
1. a mental state in which one has knowledge that one’s action, statement, etc., is wrong, deceptive, or illegal: often used as a standard of guilt: The court found that the company had the requisite scienter for securities fraud.
1. knowingly or deliberately: His wife’s statements were made scienter.
Now, there is absolutely nothing in this case to prove that he had any guilty knowledge to the effect that his account was too low to meet the draft in question. You have proven no scienter whatever.
-- Arthur Cheney Train, The Confessions of Artemas Quibble, 1911
In English scienter is both a noun and an adverb used in the law; in Latin scienter is an adverb only and is not restricted to legal usage. Latin scienter “skillfully, expertly; knowingly, consciously” breaks down to scien(t)-, the inflectional stem of the present participle sciēns from the verb scīre “to know, know how to” (scientia “knowledge, science” is a derivative of scient-), and the Latin adverbial suffix -ter, which is regularly used with adjectives and participles whose inflectional stem ends in -nt- (the t of the -nt- is dropped). Scienter entered English in the 17th century.