Mayhem is a violent and rowdy disturbance, like what you might experience at an overcrowded rock concert or a day-after-Thanksgiving sale.

You may encounter several types of disturbances in your life, but mayhem is typically used for disturbances involving crowds. The word mayhem comes to us not from Latin, as many English words do, but from Anglo-French, a dialect of French that developed in England several centuries ago. We’re guessing those Anglo-French speakers had a reputation for being a pretty rowdy bunch.

Definitions of mayhem
  1. noun
    violent and needless disturbance
    synonyms: havoc
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion
  2. noun
    the willful and unlawful crippling or mutilation of another person
    see moresee less
    type of:
    crime, criminal offence, criminal offense, law-breaking, offence, offense
    (criminal law) an act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act
Word Family