play Old Harry with (something)

(redirected from played old harry with)

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