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wreak havoc

To cause a lot of problems. Termites have wreaked havoc on the structural integrity of our house, unfortunately.
See also: havoc, wreak

play havoc with (someone or something)

To cause issues or disruptions for someone or something. The road closures have played havoc with rush-hour traffic. This humidity is going to play havoc with my hair.
See also: havoc, play

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

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

play/wreak ˈhavoc with something

cause damage, destruction or disorder to something: The terrible storms wreaked havoc with electricity supplies, because so many power lines were down.
See also: havoc, play, something, wreak
References in periodicals archive ?
flood also wreaked havoc in Dahpal Kala and adjoining areas.
SANTA CLARITA - The storm everyone had been waiting for finally arrived Friday and wreaked the usual havoc, washing out roads, causing crashes on local freeways and leaving thousands of homes without power for a few hours, officials said.
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.
In the 1980s and 1990, the Mediterranean fruit fly, or ``Medfly,'' wreaked havoc on the state's agriculture industry, although the infestation posed no threat to people.
A near non-existent level of staff turnover is another welcome attribute, and one that has wreaked havoc with other administrators' scores.
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 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.
Safe to say, if he hated Herb Ross' treatment of ``Pennies From Heaven'' (a pretty good movie; Potter even got an Oscar nod for his screenplay), he would have been appalled at the havoc that director Keith Gordon (``Waking the Dead'') has wreaked here.
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.
When we heard about the stunning level of damage wreaked by Hurricane Luis, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could.
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.
They use their earnings to help reverse the devastation wreaked onto the planet by ruthless profiteers.
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.
The temblor has, however, severely damaged many employees' homes and wreaked havoc on the transportation system, making it very difficult for people to commute.
The tide also wreaked havoc along Santa Monica, Malibu and Zuma beaches, knocking over trash cans as water washed up and over the beaches, Atkins said.