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Widespread death and devastation. If they launch a nuclear attack against us, it will cause mass destruction.
weapon of mass destruction
Any weapon, especially one that is nuclear, chemical, or biological in nature, that can be used to end lives and cause damage on a very large scale. Popularized in recent times by the administration of US President George W. Bush in relation to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sometimes used for hyperbolic, sarcastic, or humorous effect. The report concluded that the country had been manufacturing weapons of mass destruction in order to cause as much death and destruction as possible. Ugh, crack a window, dude—that fart was a weapon of mass destruction!
wreak (something) on (someone or something)
To cause a lot of something very bad to happen to someone or something. Used especially with "destruction," "havoc," and "vengeance." This humidity is wreaking havoc on my hair. The twister wreaked untold destruction on the tiny town. She swore she would wreak vengeance on the man who double-crossed her.
wreak (something) upon (someone or something)
To cause a lot of something very bad to happen to someone or something. Used especially with "destruction," "havoc," and "vengeance." This humidity is wreaking havoc upon my hair. The twister wreaked untold destruction upon the tiny town.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
weapons of mass destruction
Also, WMD. Weapons that can greatly harm or kill large numbers of people and/or severely damage man-made structures or the biosphere. The term was first used by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1937 with reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain. Less than a decade later, the term was applied to nonconventional weapons, specifically nuclear weapons. During the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the term was used by President John F. Kennedy, referring to nuclear missiles. Fearing Iraq’s use of nuclear weapons, the alleged existence of such weapons became the main justification for the 2003 invasion of that country. By then, the term was so well known and so often abbreviated that it was on its way to clichédom.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer