all hell breaks 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 breaks loose

or

all hell breaks out

INFORMAL
COMMON If all hell breaks loose or all hell breaks out, a situation becomes uncontrolled and noisy, often with a lot of arguing or fighting. Suddenly, all hell broke loose upstairs. It sounded as if someone was battering at the door with a tree trunk. Toby came home and all hell broke loose. I had no idea that a baby could scream so much. Note: This expression first appeared in John Milton's `Paradise Lost' (1667), book 4, line 917, when the Archangel Gabriel addresses Satan: `Wherefore with thee Came not all hell broke loose?' (ie why did all hell not break loose and come with you?). Here, `broke' means `broken', but the meaning of this expression has since changed.
See also: all, break, hell, loose

all hell broke (or was let) loose

suddenly there was chaos or uproar. informal
See also: all, broke, hell, loose

all ˈhell breaks/is let loose

(informal) there is suddenly an angry, noisy reaction to something; suddenly everything becomes confused, noisy, etc: When soldiers fired shots into the crowd, all hell broke loose.All hell broke loose when they heard that their pay had been cut.
See also: all, break, hell, let, loose
References in periodicals archive ?
At first glance, When All Hell Breaks Loose seems ridiculous, but by the time you are done reading, it quickly becomes evident that this is a book that could actually save your life.
A familiar story line with a twist is the best way to describe Camika Spencer's latest novel, Cubicles, the follow-up to her originally self-published debut, When All Hell Breaks Loose.
But after Brandon is arrested for forging a check, it is revealed that he is biologically female, and all hell breaks loose.
They don't mind a 40-year-old man wearing a blonde wig and a dress but as soon as a ciggie appears all hell breaks loose.
There are certain times in earth history when all hell breaks loose, and these are separated by more quiescent times," says marine geologist James Kennett.
Soon, all hell breaks loose for the unfortunate family and a terrified Courtney is forced to call Grant for help.
However, when one of the bridesmaids gets involved, the pair clash and all hell breaks loose.
They're fine on their own, but if I leave the two of them together all hell breaks loose.
I'll leave it in my freezer at home - until my wife finds it and all hell breaks loose,'' he said.
His sister Jen has forced him to attend Amanda's engagement celebration, but all hell breaks loose when the ring goes missing and then, the following day, one of the guests is found murdered.
Giant furball Sulley is good at his job but when cute little Boo follows him back to his own dimension, all hell breaks loose.
When all hell breaks loose in the wake of the Governor's (Richard Doyle) assassination, Grusha finds herself in charge of the Governor's infant son, Michael, after the child's mother, the Governor's wife (Nina Hellman), elects to save her wardrobe instead.
Suddenly all Hell breaks loose and you find out that those two little ones may not be your grandchildren after all.
The next thing you know, all hell breaks loose,'' said Shasta County Firefighter Kevin McKinley, among the 1,000 firefighters from all over the Western states.