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1) n. the criminal act of disabling, disfiguring, or cutting off or making useless one of the members (leg, arm, hand, foot, eye) of another either intentionally or in a fight, called maiming. The serious nature of the injury makes mayhem a felony, which is called "aggravated assault" in most states. 2) v. to commit mayhem is to cause gross harm in an uncontrolled fashion. (See: aggravated assault, assault, maim)
mayhemthe wilful and unlawful infliction of injury upon a person, in particular, the injuring or removing of a limb rendering him less capable of defending himself against attack.
MAYHEM, crimes. The act of unlawfully and violently depriving another of the
use of such of his members as may render him less able in fighting either to
defend himself or annoy his adversary; and therefore the cutting or
disabling, or weakening a man's hand or finger, or striking out his eye or
foretooth, or depriving him of those parts the loss of which abates his
courage, are held to be mayhems. But cutting off the ear or nose or the
like, are not held to be mayhems at common law. 4 Bl. Com. 205.
2. These and other severe personal injuries are punished by the Coventry act, (q.v.) which has been re-enacted in several of the states; Ryan's Med. Jurispr. 191, Phil. ed. 1832; and by congress. Vide act of April 30, 1790, s. 13, 1 Story's Laws U. S. 85; act of March 3, 1825, s. 22, 3 Story's L. U. S. 2006.