play the devil with


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

play the devil with (something)

To ruin or cause serious damage to something; to greatly upset, disrupt, or negatively affect something. Lack of oversight allowed overzealous investment bankers to play the devil with the economy. I love wine, but it plays the devil with my stomach!
See also: devil, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play the devil with something

Fig. to cause disruption with something; to foul something up. Your being late really played the devil with my plans for the day. This weather is really playing the devil with my arthritis.
See also: devil, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play the devil with

Upset, ruin, make a mess of, as in This weather plays the devil with my aching joints, or Wine stains play the devil with a white tablecloth. This allusion to diabolical mischief is heard more in Britain than in America. [Mid-1500s] Also see the synonym play havoc.
See also: devil, play
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

play the devil (or Old Harry) with

damage or affect greatly.
Old Harry has been a nickname for the devil in northern England since the 18th century.
See also: devil, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play the devil with

To upset or ruin.
See also: devil, play
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also: