harry

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play Old Harry with (something)

To ruin or cause serious damage to something; to greatly upset, disrupt, or negatively affect something; to play the devil with something ("Old Harry" being a nickname for the devil). Lack of oversight allowed overzealous investment bankers to play Old Harry with the economy. I love wine, but it plays Old Harry with my stomach!
See also: harry, old, play

any Tom, Dick, or Harry

Any common, undistinguished person; anyone at all, indiscriminately. You don't want any Tom, Dick, or Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want just any Tom, Dick, or Harry turning up.
See also: any, harry

Tom, Dick, or Harry

A common, undistinguished person; any manner of person, indiscriminately. (Usually in the form "(just) any Tom, Dick, or Harry.") You don't want just any Tom, Dick, or Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want Tom, Dick, or Harry turning up.
See also: harry

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

Every kind of common, undistinguished person; anyone at all, indiscriminately. You don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry turning up.
See also: and, every, harry

Tom, Dick, and Harry

Common, undistinguished people; any manner of person, indiscriminately. (Usually in the form "every Tom, Dick, and Harry.") You don't want Tom, Dick, and Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want Tom, Dick, and Harry to end up coming.
See also: and, harry

(every) Tom, Dick, and Harry

 and any Tom, Dick, and Harry
Fig. everyone, without discrimination; ordinary people. (Not necessarily males.) The golf club is very exclusive. They don't let any Tom, Dick, or Harry join. Mary's sending out very few invitations. She doesn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry turning up.
See also: and, harry

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

Also, every mother's son; every man Jack. Everyone, all ordinary individuals, as in This model should appeal to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. The use of masculine names in this way dates from Shakespeare's time (he used Tom, Dick, and Francis in 1 Henry IV), but the current one dates from the early 1800s. The two variants are largely British usage but occasionally are used in America. The first is recorded as early as 1583, whereas the second dates from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: and, every, harry

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

or

every Tom, Dick, or Harry

People say every Tom, Dick, and Harry or every Tom, Dick, or Harry to talk about many different people, especially people they do not think are special or important. These days, the hotel is letting in every Tom, Dick and Harry. Note: This expression is very variable, for example, any can be used instead of every, and Harriet and other names are sometimes used instead of Harry. You cannot sell a gun to any Tom Dick or Harry, can you? Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can put on a jacket and say, `I'll be a producer.' Note: All of these names used to be very common, and so they began to be used to refer to ordinary people in general.
See also: and, every, harry
References in classic literature ?
The road was long up the mountain, and the soldiers knew little of the path, and ever the ghost-wolves harried on their flanks.
before Troy were so harried by Apollo that they jumped out of the
Know then that though there may be peace between our own provinces and the French, yet within the marches of France there is always war, for the country is much divided against itself, and is furthermore harried by bands of flayers, skinners, Brabacons, tardvenus, and the rest of them.
And many an overworked business and professional man, as well as a harried common labourer, has travelled John Barleycorn's death road because of this mistake.
Think--THINK what it means to that poor hunted, harried girl.
The Normans who conquered England were originally members of the same stock as the 'Danes' who had harried and conquered it in the preceding centuries--the ancestors of both were bands of Baltic and North Sea pirates who merely happened to emigrate in different directions; and a little farther back the Normans were close cousins, in the general Germanic family, of the Anglo-Saxons themselves.
We encountered it well up to the forty-fourth parallel, in a raw and stormy sea across which the wind harried the fog-banks in eternal flight.