Free US Law DictionaryBETA
Scienter is a legal term that refers to intent or knowledge of wrongdoing. This means that an offending party has knowledge of the "wrongness" of an act or event prior to committing it. For example, if a man sells a car with brakes that don't work to his friend, and he doesn't know about the problem, then the man has no scienter. If he sells the car and knew of the problem before he sold, he has scienter. The origin of the word is the same as science -- that is, knowledge or mind.