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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

 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
References in periodicals archive ?
We build your Havoc Motorcycle the way you want it from the get-go," says Wiener.
Consequently, that havoc is used by the mainstream media to generate or revive Islamophobia and distract the international community from ongoing land thefts and the appalling apartheid system adopted by Israel.
The Marine Corps will conduct its own series of automotive, amphibious and protection tests of 16 Havoc vehicles once the ACV program is under way.
Flash floods wreaked havoc in four districts in Assam including Lakhimpur, Darrang, Sonitpur and Udalguri, besides Guwahati and Kamrup.
It called for finding a formula for global cooperation to put an end to the countries that provide the killers wrecking havoc and destroying the infrastructure and humanity.
Torrential rain led to flooded homes, road closures and havoc on public transport across parts of the country on Friday, as the latest downpours continued to fall on ground already saturated after three months of record-breaking rainfall across the UK.
The court heard Hughes had wreaked havoc upon the community in Cilfynydd for years and neighbourhood beat manager Catherine Griffiths said: "It really got to the point where many members of the community were living in fear, which was totally unacceptable.
Craig Ellison's dog has limitless stamina and has come from well adrift to win both outings, athough he cannot give Slaneyside Havoc too much of a start.
KOHISTAN, August 26, 2011 (Balochistan Times): At least thirty-three people have killed, dozens have gone missing and more than eighty houses have been destroyed as flood wreaked havoc in Kundiyaan, area of Kohistan here on Thursday.
KOHISTAN, August 26, 2011 (Frontier Star): At least thirty-three people have killed, dozens have gone missing and more than eighty houses have been destroyed as flood wreaked havoc in Kundiyaan, area of Kohistan here on Thursday.
It's midnight and we greet a man with a bloodied nose, clotting traffic's flow down Percival Road where havoc has always had me here.
Sir, The Women's Food and Farming Union have called for an outright ban on Chinese lanterns because of the deadly havoc they posed to animals and livestock.
Havoc TV's Live Volvo Broadcast and Interactive Webcast from the North American International Auto Show Helped Put Absent Media Where they Wanted To Be.
Clare is hurled out of a moving car and is soon wreaking havoc all around her.
Re: Christian voice needed in stem cell debate (October Anglican Journal) Linda Nicholls, writing about biotechnology "play(ing) havoc with the order of creation," deserves a reply.