wreak

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wreak havoc (with something)

to cause a lot of trouble with something; to ruin or damage something. Your bad attitude will wreak havoc with my project. The rainy weather wreaked havoc with our picnic plans.
See also: havoc, wreak

wreak something (up)on someone or something

to cause damage, havoc, or destruction to someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The storm wreaked destruction upon the little village. It wreaked much havoc on us.
See also: on, wreak

wreak vengeance (up)on someone or something

Cliché to seek and get revenge on someone by harming someone or something. The gangster wreaked his vengeance by destroying his rival's house. The general wanted to wreak vengeance on the opposing army for their recent successful attack.
See also: on, vengeance, wreak

wreak havoc

to cause a lot of trouble or damage Storms wreaked havoc on both coasts of the United States.
Usage notes: often used with on: Strikes have wreaked havoc on businesses here.
See also: havoc, wreak

play havoc

Also, raise or wreak havoc . Disrupt, damage, or destroy something, as in The wind played havoc with her hair, or The fire alarm raised havoc with the children, or The earthquake wrought havoc in the town. The noun havoc was once used as a command for invaders to begin looting and killing, but by the 1800s the term was being used for somewhat less aggressive activities. For a synonym, see play the devil with.
See also: havoc, play
References in periodicals archive ?
sponging She stood by her convictions, which wreaked havoc on millions of lives going
According to the report, written by IBM's Global Security Intelligence Services team, email-based worms and viruses wreaked havoc on corporate networks in 2004.
Summary: Football fans have wreaked havoc in the city of Cali in Colombia after their team was relegated to the second division of the national league.
Healing process: Absences and illness have wreaked havoc with the Angels regular lineup this spring, but Scioscia was encouraged by what he saw in their 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
The heartbreak that follows reaches its page-turning conclusion in the hurricane of 1920 that wreaked devastation along the Atlantic Coast.
Until recently, scientists attributed the cellular havoc wreaked by alpha particles to their direct effects on DNA.
As American Heritage III points out in its Usage Note at wreak, "The past tense and past participle of wreak is wreaked, not wrought, which is an alternative past tense and past participle of work.
The recent Nimda and SQL Slammer computer virus attacks have wreaked havoc worldwide while the Iraqi conflict has produced new forms of hacking and cyber attacks.
The storm, which wreaked havoc in Northern and central California and caused nearly 200,000 customers to lose power, moved south and eventually out to sea before it hit Southern California.
The dictionary's Usage Note at wreak reminds the searcher of yet another possible problem: "Wreak is sometimes confused with wreck, perhaps because the wreaking of damage may leave a wreck: The storm wreaked (not wrecked) havoc along the coast.
Los Angeles Unified School District's decision to save $38 million by reducing spending by $50 per student has wreaked havoc at many campuses, which are facing cuts in supplies for students and leaving vital jobs vacant.
NYSE and TSE: GLG) Despite the devastation recently wreaked on Central America by Hurricane Mitch, Glamis' two key exploration properties in the region have been little affected.
The rain that has wreaked havoc on local freeways for the last couple of days, however, is expected to give way to patchy clouds today, followed by temperatures in the high 70s on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
While we are pleased that our stores came through relatively unscathed, our enthusiasm is dampened by the incredible human and financial toll that Georges wreaked on the Caribbean.
SANTA CLARITA - Powerful winds wreaked havoc on freeways and neighborhoods Saturday, uprooting trees, ripping street signs from their posts and forcing big rigs to pull over in the Castaic area.