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3 definitions found
 for Malice aforethought
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  malice \mal"ice\ (m[a^]l"[i^]s), n. [F. malice, fr. L. malitia,
     from malus bad, ill, evil, prob. orig., dirty, black; cf. Gr.
     me`las black, Skr. mala dirt. Cf. Mauger.]
     1. Enmity of heart; malevolence; ill will; a spirit
        delighting in harm or misfortune to another; a disposition
        to injure another; a malignant design of evil. "Nor set
        down aught in malice." --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              Envy, hatred, and malice are three distinct passions
              of the mind.                          --Ld. Holt.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. (Law) Any wicked or mischievous intention of the mind; a
        depraved inclination to mischief; an intention to vex,
        annoy, or injure another person, or to do a wrongful act
        without just cause or cause or excuse; a wanton disregard
        of the rights or safety of others; willfulness.
        [1913 Webster]
     Malice aforethought or Malice prepense, malice previously
        and deliberately entertained.
        [1913 Webster]
     Syn: Spite; ill will; malevolence; grudge; pique; bitterness;
          animosity; malignity; maliciousness; rancor; virulence.
     Usage: See Spite. -- Malevolence, Malignity,
            Malignancy. Malice is a stronger word than
            malevolence, which may imply only a desire that evil
            may befall another, while malice desires, and perhaps
            intends, to bring it about. Malignity is intense and
            deepseated malice. It implies a natural delight in
            hating and wronging others. One who is malignant must
            be both malevolent and malicious; but a man may be
            malicious without being malignant.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Proud tyrants who maliciously destroy
                  And ride o'er ruins with malignant joy.
            [1913 Webster]
                  in some connections, malignity seems rather more
                  pertinently applied to a radical depravity of
                  nature, and malignancy to indications of this
                  depravity, in temper and conduct in particular
                  instances.                        --Cogan.
            [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  malice aforethought
      n 1: (law) criminal intent; the thoughts and intentions behind a
           wrongful act (including knowledge that the act is illegal);
           often at issue in murder trials [syn: mens rea, malice

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  MALICE AFORETHOUGHT, pleadings. In an indictment for murder, these words, 
  which have a technical force, must be used in charging the offence; for 
  without them, and the artificial phrase murder, the indictment will be taken 
  to charge manslaughter only. Fost. 424; Yelv. 205; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, *242, 
  and the authorities and cases there cited. 
       2. Whenever malice aforethought is necessary to constitute the offence, 
  these words must be used in charging the crime in the indictment. 2 Chit. 
  Cr. Law, *787; 1 East, Pl. Or. 402. 2 Mason, R. 91. 

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