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mayhem

[ mey-hem, mey-uhm ]
/ ˈmeɪ hɛm, ˈmeɪ əm /
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noun

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.

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Origin of mayhem

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English maheym, maim, from Anglo-French mahe(i)m, mahaim, from Germanic; akin to Middle High German meidem “gelding,” Old Norse meitha “to injure”; see maim

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mayhem

maim, mayhem
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use mayhem in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mayhem

mayhem

maihem

/ (ˈmeɪhɛm) /

noun

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

Word Origin for mayhem

C15: from Anglo-French mahem injury, from Germanic; related to Icelandic meitha to hurt. See maim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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