Definition of mayhem
1a : willful and permanent deprivation of a bodily member resulting in the impairment of a person's fighting abilityb : willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of the body
2 : needless or willful damage or violence movies filled with murder and mayhem
mayhem was our Word of the Day on 02/18/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of mayhem in a Sentence
movies filled with murder and mayhem
a criminal who escaped from prison and caused mayhem
Recent Examples of mayhem from the Web
Republicans in congress need to end this childish mayhem.
A massive suicide truck bombing rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350, an attack that left a scene of mayhem and destruction.
A massive explosion rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350, an attack that left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.
For a passage of frenzied mayhem, Mr. Gilbert came up with the idea of having the players toss paper fusillades at him.
Hammond is also charged with aggravated mayhem, battery and assault.
In addition to a hate crime count, Hammond is charged with aggravated mayhem, battery and assault.
In the latest film, Depp’s anti-hero pirate Sparrow is searching for the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which can save him from deadly ghost sailors bent on mayhem.
Amid the hustle, bustle, carnage, and mayhem of E3 Expo, Abzû is a breath of fresh air.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mayhem'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Legally speaking, mayhem refers to the gruesome crime of deliberately causing an injury that permanently disfigures another. The name derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French verb maheimer ("to maim") and is probably of Germanic origin; our own verb "to maim" comes from the same ancestor. The disfigurement sense first appeared in English in the 15th century. By the 19th century the word had come to mean any kind of violent behavior; nowadays, "mayhem" can be used to suggest any kind of chaos or disorder, as in, "there was mayhem in the streets during the citywide blackout."
Origin and Etymology of mayhem
Middle English mayme, mahaime, from Anglo-French mahaim mutilation, mayhem, from maheimer, mahaigner to maim, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Middle High German meiden gelding, Old Norse meitha to injure
First Known Use: 15th century
MAYHEM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mayhem for English Language Learners
: actions that hurt people and destroy things : a scene or situation that involves a lot of violence
Medical Definition of mayhem
: willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfiguring of any part of another's body; also : the crime of engaging in mayhem physicians, accused…of sterilizing her through trickery, were ordered held for trial on charges of conspiracy to commit mayhem—Associated Press
Legal Definition of mayhem
: willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of another's body; also : the crime of engaging in mayhem
Additional Notes on mayhem
Under the Model Penal Code and the codes of the states that follow it, mayhem is encompassed by assault and aggravated assault.
Origin and Etymology of mayhem
Anglo-French mahaim mahain, literally, mutilation, from Old French mahain, from mahaignier to injure, mutilate
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