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cry havoc

To sound a warning or alarm of impending chaos, danger, or disaster. "Havoc" was originally a military order in the Middle Ages for soldiers to pillage and cause destruction; it features most famously in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war." The governor cried havoc as the protest became increasingly violent. With the hurricane approaching the city, officials cried havoc and urged citizens to seek shelter.
See also: cry, havoc

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

raise havoc with (someone or something)

To cause a lot of serious issues or disruptions for someone or something. The road closures have raised havoc with rush-hour traffic. The blizzard is raising havoc with travelers flying in and out of the region.
See also: havoc, raise

raise havoc with someone or something

 and play havoc with someone or something
to create confusion or disruption for or among someone or something. Your announcement raised havoc with the students. I didn't mean to play havoc with them.
See also: havoc, raise

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

cry havoc

Sound an alarm or warning, as in In his sermon the pastor cried havoc to the congregation's biases against gays. The noun havoc was once a command for invaders to begin looting and killing the defenders' town. Shakespeare so used it in Julius Caesar (3:1): "Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the dogs of war." By the 19th century the phrase had acquired its present meaning.
See also: cry, havoc

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 havoc with

completely disrupt; cause serious damage to.
1989 Vijay Singh In Search of the River Goddess I hate contractors who come from the plains, chop down trees, play havoc with our lives.
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

cry havoc

To sound an alarm; warn.
See also: cry, havoc

wreak havoc

Create confusion and inflict destruction. Havoc, which comes from the medieval word for “plunder,” was once a specific command for invading troops to begin looting and killing in a conquered village. This is what Shakespeare meant by his oft-quoted “Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war” (Julius Caesar, 3.1). Although the word still means devastating damage, to wreak it has been transferred to less warlike activities, as in “That puppy will wreak havoc in the living room.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the The Birds of Killingworth (1863) stated, “The crow . . . crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, and crying havoc on the slug and snail.”
See also: havoc, wreak
References in periodicals archive ?
The wind-up time makes the Havoc rifle a suboptimal weapon for intense combat as it the first shot always comes late against an aware enemy.
The purpose of this contract is to modernize the electromechanical equipment of the locks and pumping stations of havoc and pommeroeul and the hensies lock.
However, though pronounced exactly like to reck, to wreck (spelt with an initial "w") is to destroy a system, exactly as torrential rains do to property in countries like ours, where production and storage are not yet based essentially on any real mastery of science and technology.Yet whenever rain "wrecks" even "havoc" as so many of East Africa's journalists and other users of English allege we should rejoice because havoc is a perilous social condition that truly needs to be ruthlessly wrecked.
BEIRUT: Bus drivers blocked a main highway north of Beirut Friday in protest against an earlier assault on a driver, creating havoc and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Despite the fact that the Douglas A-20 Havoc is not one of the better known Allied bombers from World War II, this air craft played a crucial part in the war effort.
"The more havoc there is tomorrow the better for me.
Or if that doesn't suit I could always create a more little havoc for the locals and expect the council taxpayers to suffer a 8% increase next year, so Redcar and Cleveland Council can buy me out for about PS4m!
It seems to me that the IS has been created by the West to serve as a regional tool, primarily to wreak havoc in countries that reject imperialism.
Damascus, (SANA) The Syrian Consulting Center for Studies and Human rights urged the world states to adopt a firm stance to put an end to the supporters of the terrorist groups which are wrecking havoc in Syria and Iraq and to activate the international law, especially in the field of combating terrorism.
PAUL ANDERSON is predicting his Giants will go to Widnes tonight and 'cause havoc'!
The play, at the soon-to-be-defunct Repertory Theatre of New Orleans (where I was a sometimes apprentice actor), was The Elinor Glyn Liquid Memorial Love Regatta, devised and directed by June Havoc, in the second (and final) of the actress's two seasons as the company's artistic director.
Summary: The Environment Agency has issued 71 flood warnings and 165 flood alerts across England and Wales, as heavy rain continues to wreak havoc.
23 -- Duke Video releases the great value 3-disc Ultimate Havoc, biggest-ever collection of smashes, crashes, spins and rolls.
A JUDGE imposed a two-year curfew to confine a young troublemaker from wreaking havoc on his neighbours when he is released from prison.
And with Dave Wagstaffe and John Richards causing havoc on the counter-attack it was Palmer who put Wolves ahead before the break.