leave (something) in (one's)/its wake

leave (something) in (one's)/its wake

To create something unpleasant that lingers as a result of one's or something's actions or behavior. The tornado left a trail of destruction in its wake. The outspoken writer has embarked on a nation-wide tour, and she has been leaving controversy in her wake so far.
See also: leave, wake

leave something in its/his/her wake

COMMON If an event or a person leaves an unpleasant situation in their wake, they cause it to exist after the event or person has happened or gone. Note: The wake of a ship is the line of white foaming water behind it. A deadly cloud of gas swept along the valleys, leaving a trail of death and devastation in its wake. The rioting died away over the next few days, leaving in its wake three dead and many more injured. Mr Stevens has disappeared, leaving in his wake debts of over £2 million.
See also: leave, something, wake
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