Mayhem Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Mayhem, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Mayhem?

(n) Mayhem is the act of disfigurement or defacement inflicted on a person by an intentional act or on a fight with such person. Mayhem is also termed as aggravated assault .

History and Meaning of Mayhem

Mayhem is a term that has been present in English common law since the 13th century. Originally, mayhem referred to the intentional maiming or disfigurement of another person, usually by injuring their face, hands or other body parts, to limit their ability to actively participate in society. Mayhem was essentially a criminal act that involved permanently disabling or disfiguring someone. Today, the term mayhem is still used in legal contexts and is commonly referred to as aggravated assault.

Examples of Mayhem

  1. A man intentionally disfigures another man's face by throwing acid on him.
  2. During a fight, a person bites off the ear of their opponent.
  3. A person intentionally blinds someone by poking their eyes out.
  4. A woman intentionally cuts off her husband's finger with a knife.
  5. A man kicks a woman in the face, causing permanent damage to her nose and cheekbones.

Legal Terms Similar to Mayhem

  1. Battery - the intentional causing of harmful contact with another person's body without their consent.
  2. Assault - the threat of bodily harm or unwanted physical contact by someone acting in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid or apprehensive.
  3. Robbery - the taking of someone's property by force or the threat of force, usually accompanied by bodily harm or injury.
  4. Homicide - the killing of one person by another, including murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.
  5. Tort - an injury or harm caused to another person or their property for which the injured party can seek legal redress.