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Maim means to inflict serious bodily injury on someone resulting in permanent damage. Originally, in English common law it meant to cut off or permanently disable a part of the body such as an arm, leg, hand, or foot.

As explained in this case from Missouri, the word “maim” means the infliction of serious bodily injury that limits the victim’s ability to function physically. The case goes on to explain that “intent to maim” can be determined by “the nature of weapon used, manner of using it, results of its use, and all related circumstances giving rise to the incident out of which the charge arose.”

Similarly, when maim is used in the context of animals, it implies some permanent injury must have been inflicted on the animal. 

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]