From Middle English mayme, mahaime, from Anglo-Norman mahaim (“mutilation”), from Old French mahaign (“bodily harm, loss of limb”), from Proto-Germanic *maidijaną (“to cripple, injure”) (compare Middle High German meidem, meiden (“gelding”), Old Norse meiða (“to injure”), Gothic 𐌼𐌰𐌹𐌳𐌾𐌰𐌽 (maidjan, “to alter, falsify”)), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (“to change”). More at mad. The original meaning referred to the crime of maiming, the other senses derived from this.
- A state or situation of great confusion, disorder, trouble or destruction; chaos.
- What if the legendary hero Robin Hood had been born into the mayhem of the 20th century ?
- In all the mayhem, some children were separated from their partners.
- She waded into the mayhem, elbowing between taller men to work her way to the front of the crowd.
- The clowns would dart into the crowd and pull another unsuspecting victim into the mayhem of the ring
- Infliction of violent injury on a person or thing.
- The fighting dogs created mayhem in the flower beds.
- (law) The maiming of a person by depriving him of the use of any of his limbs which are necessary for defense or protection.
- (law) The crime of damaging things or harming people on purpose.
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- ^ Philip Babcock, ed., Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, s.v. "mayhem" (Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1993.