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The term non compos mentis means 'not of sound mind'. Non compos mentis derives from the Latin non meaning "not", compos meaning "having (command of)", and mentis (genitive singular of mens), meaning "mind".

Although typically used in law, this term can also be used metaphorically or figuratively; i.e. when one is in a confused state, intoxicated, or not of sound mind.

In English law, the rule of non compos mentis was most commonly used when the defendant invoked religious or magical explanations for behavior.


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