1520s, in Scots law, "act of disabling or wounding a limb," from L.L. mutilationem (from mutilatio), from L. mutilatus, pp. of mutilare "to cut or lop off," from mutilus "maimed," which is perhaps cognate with Gk. mytilos "hornless." Of things, "to destroy the unity of by damaging or removing a part," it is recorded from 1630s.
1530s, of things; 1560s, of persons;, from L. mutilat-, pp. stem of mutilare, from mutilus (see mutilation). Technically, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.