havoc

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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 classic literature ?
Hector soon marked the havoc Diomed and Ulysses were making, and bore down upon them with a loud cry, followed by the Trojan ranks; brave Diomed was dismayed when he saw them, and said to Ulysses who was beside him, "Great Hector is bearing down upon us and we shall be undone; let us stand firm and wait his onset.
The house being large, and many in it, he did not care to go in, but called for a hand grenado, and threw it among them, which at first frightened them, but, when it burst, made such havoc among them that they cried out in a hideous manner.
Many had gone down on both sides, but by far the greater havoc had been wrought in the ranks of the guards of Issus.
Across the wasted meadowlands and fields of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes looked, as a stranger, upon the moving figures of Basuli and his braves as they prepared their morning meal and made ready to set out upon the expedition which Basuli had planned after discovering the havoc and disaster which had befallen the estate of his dead master.
At one end the panther wrought fearful havoc with his mighty talons and long, sharp fangs, while Akut at the other buried his yellow canines in the necks of those that came within his reach, hurling the terror-stricken blacks overboard as he made his way toward the centre of the canoe.
They hesitated, and a rain of bullets wrought terrible havoc amongst their ranks.
I could not repress a sigh at the thought of the havoc war had wrought in this part of England, at least.
But my heart smote me when we climbed aboard and looked at the havoc he had done.
Twenty helicopters of Pak Army, besides a number of boats are actively engaged in rescue activities across the province and out of which 10 are engaged in the provincial capital four each in Dera Ismail Khan and Swat and two in Kohat to evacuate the people encircled by flood havocs.