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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
References in periodicals archive ?
Certainly, heavy rains like those of East Africa often cause terrible havoc to humanity and its property and habitats.
Havoc added, "For over 20 years, he and I went through it all and seen it all.
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.
My main regret, in terms of participatory theatre, was that I'd missed the lodestar of the genre, the Performance Group's seminal Dionysus in 69, which crossed a line Miss Havoc would surely never have considered broaching: sexual interaction with the audience.
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.
Duke Video says there's sickening high-sides, car-destroying crashes, massive pile-ups and terrifying fireball spins - viewers will be leaping out of their armchairs as Duke unleashes the Havoc.
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.
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.
Havoc picks up directly after the conclusion of Vesper (Balzer + Bray, 2011/VOYA April 2011), and although the narration tries to recap events from the first book, readers will want to experience the books in order.
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.
In a series of electrifying scenes, renegade group Havoc vows to bring down the master of menace.