The term mayhem is the violently depriving another of the use of such of his members as may render him less able, in fighting, either to defend himself or annoy his adversary. And, therefore, the cutting off, or disabling, or weakening, a man's hand or finger, or striking out his eye or foretooth, or depriving him of those parts, the loss of which, in animals, abates their courage, are held to be mayhem. But the cutting off his ear or nose, or the like, are not held to be mayhem at common law, because they do not weaken, but only disfigure him.

(blackstone's commentaries on the laws of england, 1765)

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