\ ˈmām How to pronounce maim (audio) \
maimed; maiming; maims

Definition of maim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mutilate, disfigure, or wound seriously
2 : to commit the felony of mayhem upon



Definition of maim (Entry 2 of 2)

1 obsolete : serious physical injury especially : loss of a member of the body
2 obsolete : a serious loss

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from maim


maimer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for maim


maim, cripple, mutilate, batter, mangle mean to injure so severely as to cause lasting damage. maim implies the loss or injury of a bodily member through violence. maimed by a shark cripple implies the loss or serious impairment of an arm or leg. crippled for life in an accident mutilate implies the cutting off or removal of an essential part of a person or thing thereby impairing its completeness, beauty, or function. a tree mutilated by inept pruning batter implies a series of blows that bruise deeply, deform, or mutilate. an old ship battered by fierce storms mangle implies a tearing or crushing that leaves deep wounds. a soldier's leg mangled by shrapnel

Examples of maim in a Sentence

Verb The bomb killed 16 people and maimed several others. on-the-job accidents maim far too many workers every year
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The bid to maim the American Rescue Plan could have been averted if its drafters were attentive not just to esoteric conservative scribblers, but major Supreme Court precedents. Simon Lazarus, The New Republic, "The Republican Legal Assault on Biden’s Covid Relief Plan Could Be Devastating for Democrats," 29 Mar. 2021 Slovenia's president spoke of eliminating land mines, legacies of bygone wars that still maim and kill. Peter Prengaman, Star Tribune, "The other issues: Pandemic focus at UN pushes out key topics," 25 Sep. 2020 According to the findings, his government and security forces have engaged in an assortment of brutal torture tactics ranging from electric shocks, genital mutilation, and asphyxiation to kill and maim dissidents. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Venezuela's Maduro denounces US as “the most serious threat to world peace” in UN address," 24 Sep. 2020 Cliff Hill and maimed Public Safety Commissioner Max Williams, who lost an eye and a hand, and the mayor’s executive assistant, Gene Lint, who was a decorated World War II veteran. al, "Vintage Alabama: Harper Lee, Coretta Scott King taught us about courage," 3 May 2020 Ansari, Nanjiani, and Minhaj are burdened with the question of how not to maim their parents in mining their autobiographies. Sanjena Sathian, The New Yorker, "“Family Karma” Might Be a Breakthrough for Desis on TV," 10 Mar. 2020 Theodosia seemed one of those maimed or homely people who—feeling themselves unimprovable—make a militant point of glaring you down. Allan Gurganus, The New Yorker, "The Wish for a Good Young Country Doctor," 27 Apr. 2020 The nation was now embroiled in a war that would ultimately kill or maim 670,000 of its citizens, and the holiday spirit was at a low. Jordan Runtagh,, "Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas': The Poignant Story Behind the Enduring Holiday Classic," 22 Nov. 2019 More than 12,000 children were killed or maimed in conflict in 2018, and violent attacks on them have continued in 2019, according to UNICEF. Jack Guy, CNN, "Children suffering as number of countries in conflict is highest in 30 years, UNICEF says," 30 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of maim


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maim

Verb and Noun

Middle English maymen, mahaymen, from Anglo-French maheimer, mahaigner — more at mayhem

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maim

Time Traveler for maim

Time Traveler

The first known use of maim was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for maim

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for maim



English Language Learners Definition of maim

: to injure (someone) very badly by violence


\ ˈmām How to pronounce maim (audio) \
maimed; maiming

Kids Definition of maim

: to injure badly or cripple by violence
\ ˈmām How to pronounce maim (audio) \

Medical Definition of maim

1 : to commit the felony of mayhem upon
2 : to wound seriously : mutilate, disable

Keep scrolling for more

\ ˈmām How to pronounce maim (audio) \

Legal Definition of maim

: to mutilate, disfigure, or wound seriously — compare mayhem

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on maim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for maim

Nglish: Translation of maim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maim for Arabic Speakers

Comments on maim

What made you want to look up maim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!