[mey-hem, mey-uh m] /ˈmeɪ hɛm, ˈmeɪ əm/

Law. the crime of willfully inflicting a bodily injury on another so as to make the victim less capable of self-defense or, under modern statutes, so as to cripple or mutilate the victim.
random or deliberate violence or damage.
a state of rowdy disorder:
Antagonisms between the various factions at the meeting finally boiled over, and mayhem ensued.
(law) the wilful and unlawful infliction of injury upon a person, esp (formerly) the injuring or removing of a limb rendering him less capable of defending himself against attack
any violent destruction or confusion

late 15c., from Anglo-French maihem (13c.), from Old French mahaigne “injury, wrong, a hurt, harm, damage;” related to mahaignier “to injure, wound, mutilate, cripple” (see maim). Originally, in law, the crime of maiming a person “to make him less able to defend himself or annoy his adversary” [OED].


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