play hell

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play (merry) hell with (someone or something)

To cause issues or disruptions for someone or something. This wonky Internet signal is playing merry hell with my site edits right now.
See also: hell, play

play merry hell

To complain loudly or disruptively; to behave in a chaotic or disruptive manner. The team's star quarterback played merry hell about the team's new policy, but he fell in line once the season started. The kids have been playing merry hell since dinner. I think we need to get them to bed!
See also: hell, merry, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play hell with someone or something

Fig. to cause enormous disruptions with someone or something. (Use discretion with hell.) Your proposal would play hell with Gerry and his plans. This new event really plays hell with my schedule.
See also: hell, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play hell


play merry hell

mainly BRITISH
If someone plays hell or plays merry hell, they cause trouble by behaving badly or complaining a lot. I went to the school and played hell with them. She played merry hell and stormed out in a rage. Note: Verbs such as kick up, raise or create can be used instead of play. I will be raising merry hell at the meeting tomorrrow.
See also: hell, play
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

play (merry) hell with

throw into turmoil; disrupt. informal
See also: hell, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
THE weather is due to play hell with the Wimbledon schedule today, but at least Tim Henman is safely through to the second round.
Travel, jet lag, sore muscles, over-tiredness and uncomfortable sleeping conditions play hell with the ability to sleep for some people.
If it was a child, the nation would play hell up, but because it's a pet people don't think it matters.
intermissions--which certainly sped up the action but must play hell
Actually, if you age some Zins (like this one) you'd play hell trying to tell if it was Zinfandel, or [ldot] Cabernet Sauvignon.
When that happens to my regular ISP I call in and play hell with them until it's fixed.
In a lighter vein, the Broadway musical play Hell's a Poppin' of the late '30s was originally titled Heel's a Poppin'.
Heels, however, shorten the calf muscles and play hell with the balls of your feet.