maim (v.)

c. 1300, maimen, "disable by wounding or mutilation, injure seriously, damage, destroy, castrate," from Old French mahaignier "to injure, wound, muitilate, cripple, disarm," a word of uncertain origin, possibly from Vulgar Latin *mahanare (source also of Provençal mayanhar, Italian magagnare), of unknown origin; or possibly from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *mait- (source of Old Norse meiða "to hurt," related to mad (adj.)), or from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut."

In old law, "to deprive of the use of a limb, so as to render one less able to defend or attack in fighting." Related: Maimed; maiming. It also is used as a noun, "injury causing loss of a limb, mutilation" (late 14c.), in which it is a doublet of mayhem.

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masc. proper name, from Old Irish Máel Coluim "servant of (St.) Columba," from máel "servant," etymologically "bald, shorn, hornless," from PIE base *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim).
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mangle (v.)

"to mutilate, to hack or cut by random, repeated blows," c. 1400, from Anglo-French mangler, frequentative of Old French mangoner "cut to pieces," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps connected with Old French mahaignier "to maim, mutilate, wound" (see maim). The figurative meaning "to destroy the symmetry or completeness of" is from early 15c.; as "to mispronounce (words), garble," from 1530s. Related: Mangled; mangler; mangling.

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mayhem (n.)

late 15c., "the violent doing of a bodily hurt to another person," from Anglo-French maihem (13c.), from Old French mahaigne "injury, wrong, a hurt, harm, damage;" related to mahaignier "to injure, wound, mutilate, cripple" (see maim). Originally, in law, the crime of maiming a person "to make him less able to defend himself or annoy his adversary" [OED]. By 19c. it was being used generally of any sort of violent disorder or needless or willful damage or violence.

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mite (n.1)

"tiny animal, minute arachnid," Old English mite "minute, parasitic insect or arachnid," from Proto-Germanic *miton (source also of Middle Dutch mite, Dutch mijt, Old High German miza, Danish mide) meaning originally perhaps "the cutter," in reference to its bite, from Proto-Germanic *mait- (source also of Gothic maitan, Old High German meizen "to cut"), from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim). Compare ant. Or else its original sense is "something small," and it is from PIE root *mei- (2) "small," in reference to size.

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ant (n.)

c. 1500 shortening of Middle English ampte (late 14c.), from Old English æmette "ant," from West Germanic *emaitjon (source also of Old High German ameiza, German Ameise) from a compound of Germanic *e-, *ai- "off, away" + *mai- "cut," from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim). Thus the insect's name is, etymologically, "the biter-off."

As þycke as ameten crepeþ in an amete hulle [chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1297]

Emmet survived into 20c. as an alternative form. By a similar contraction, aunt "a parent's sister" is from Latin amita. White ant "termite" is from 1729. To have ants in one's pants "be nervous and fidgety" is from 1934, made current by a popular song; antsy embodies the same notion.

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mutilate (v.)

1530s, of things (writing or books) "disfigure, maim by depriving of a characteristic part;" 1560s, of persons, "cut off a limb or any important part of;" from Latin mutilatus, past participle of mutilare "to cut off, lop off, cut short; maim, mutilate," from mutilus "maimed," which is of uncertain etymology. Properly, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off, and emphasizing the injury to completeness and beauty. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.

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hamper (v.)
late 14c., hampren "surround, imprison, confine; pack in a container; impede in motion or progress," of uncertain origin; probably from hamper (n.1), unless it is somehow connected to Middle English hamelian "to maim." Related: Hampered; hampering.
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vulnerable (adj.)
c. 1600, from Late Latin vulnerabilis "wounding," from Latin vulnerare "to wound, hurt, injure, maim," from vulnus (genitive vulneris) "wound," perhaps related to vellere "pluck, to tear" (see svelte), or from PIE *wele-nes-, from *wele- (2) "to strike, wound" (see Valhalla).
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truncate (v.)

late 15c., from Latin truncatus "cut off," past participle of truncare "to maim, mutilate, cut off," from truncus "maimed, mutilated," also "trunk of a tree, trunk of the body," of uncertain origin, probably originally "mutilated, cut off," and perhaps from PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome." Related: Truncated; truncating.

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