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.
updated on December 09, 2018