Definition of mayhem in English:
- Police say they are winning the war against violent drunks who cause mayhem in the West End of the city at weekends.
- High spirits often get out of control and lead to violence and mayhem.
- What unfolds is a riot of comic mayhem as mistaken identity leads to uproarious farce throughout.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries mayhem was a crime which involved maiming a person so that they could no longer defend themselves. In origin the word is a form of maim (Middle English), which came through French but whose ultimate origin is unknown. The modern sense ‘violent or extreme disorder’ originated in the USA in the 19th century.
Words that rhyme with mayhemBethlehem • ad hominem
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.