Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Language: Anglo-French
Origin: mahaime 'crime of cutting off someone's arm or leg', from Old French maynier; MAIM

mayhem

noun
     
may‧hem [uncountable]
an extremely confused situation in which people are very frightened or excited [= chaos]:
There was complete mayhem after the explosion.
cause/create/wreak mayhem
For some children, the first fall of snow is an opportunity to create mayhem.

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