all hell broke loose

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all hell breaks loose

slang Said of a chaotic or disruptive situation, especially one that begins suddenly or unexpectedly. I'm just walking down the street when all hell breaks loose, and drivers start beeping and screaming at each other for no apparent reason. One guy pushed another at the bar and then all hell broke loose—that's why we left!
See also: all, break, hell, loose

all hell broke loose

all sorts of wild or terrible things happened. When the boss left early for the weekend, all hell broke loose.
See also: all, broke, hell, loose

all hell broke (or was let) loose

suddenly there was chaos or uproar. informal
See also: all, broke, hell, loose
References in periodicals archive ?
In April 1994, all hell broke loose and within 100 days, Hutu extremists murdered nearly a million Rwandans.
The last time I was on an award stage in Hollywood, all hell broke loose.
When Desmond the Dragon of Rochdale intervened to try and halt his childish actions all hell broke loose and Freddie found himself shamed on the sidelines.
Fists flew as all hell broke loose during the worst disturbance ever seen in a district court in Ireland.
One player threw a punch near the end of the game and all hell broke loose.
They were eyeballing each other from the moment Dane walked in - then all hell broke loose.
On the Street, Todd came out to Sarah and all hell broke loose with Gail and Eileen scrapping on the cobbles and Nick and Jason trading blows.
ALL hell broke loose in Albert Square last week - and the repercussions are still flying.
Inconveniently, dad woke up from his coma and all hell broke loose in what could have been the usual tale of family loyalties, rivalries and forbidden love affairs, given a twist in that the families involved were Indian and Pakistani.
A pal said: "She was getting cramps all day and didn't feel great then all hell broke loose and Orlaith feared the worse.
Then all hell broke loose after Celtic midfielder Tommy Burns was decked by a punch in the area.