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mayhem (noun) extreme confusion and fear among a group of people as a result of some sudden and shocking event.

A confused situation in which people are frightened following some sudden and shocking incident is mayhem. 'Fearing the lurking of a serpent, as people ran out of the theatre, all at the same time, there was total mayhem.' This means that people tried to get out of the hall, all at once, in great confusion and fear.

  • The hoax played by someone that a bomb had been placed in the theatre caused mayhem. People ran for their lives in extreme fear and confusion. A few people were injured in the stampede.
  • The rather prolonged tremor of the earth caused mayhem in the town, as everyone ran out of their homes in great fear and confusion.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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