wreak

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Related to wreaking: wield, sunder, spurning

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

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

wreak something (up)on someone or something

to cause damage, havoc, or destruction to someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The storm wreaked destruction upon the little village. It wreaked much havoc on us.
See also: on, wreak

wreak vengeance (up)on someone or something

Cliché to seek and get revenge on someone by harming someone or something. The gangster wreaked his vengeance by destroying his rival's house. The general wanted to wreak vengeance on the opposing army for their recent successful attack.
See also: on, vengeance, wreak

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/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

wreak havoc

Create confusion and inflict destruction. Havoc, which comes from the medieval word for “plunder,” was once a specific command for invading troops to begin looting and killing in a conquered village. This is what Shakespeare meant by his oft-quoted “Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war” (Julius Caesar, 3.1). Although the word still means devastating damage, to wreak it has been transferred to less warlike activities, as in “That puppy will wreak havoc in the living room.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the The Birds of Killingworth (1863) stated, “The crow . . . crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, and crying havoc on the slug and snail.”
See also: havoc, wreak
References in periodicals archive ?
Whether it's an epidemic of missing adolescent boys, a stalker who might be Ellis's deceased father or one of his fictional creations, or a possessed Furby doll intent on wreaking havoc, the author's always compelling storytelling skills will keep you turning pages.
214), which discusses an "alien green alga that's currently wreaking havoc in the Mediterranean Sea."
Non-native species have been stealthily making their way into the lakes for many years, wreaking havoc on a fragile and delicately balanced ecosystem.
After making the program available on the Internet to anyone who wants it, Tankado tries to blackmail Trevor Strathmore, the deputy head, by threatening to sell the key to the highest bidder if the NSA does not reveal the existence of its high-powered code breaker, TRANSLTR, rendering it useless and wreaking havoc on the NSA, but protecting the privacy of computer users world wide.
Citizens in Washington state are asked to be on the lookout for the citrus longhorned beetle, a destructive pest that resembles its Asian counterpart currently wreaking havoc on Chicago and New York City.
Not a lot to choose from for most families (no matter their configuration), who are too busy keeping track of grocery bills to spend a lot of time thinking about how much damage this burden of representation is wreaking on their everyday lives.
Together they work to stop the empress' traitorous husband from wreaking havoc on the nation.
Among the examples cited: sudden oak death, now ravaging California's trees by the thousands, and citrus canker, wreaking havoc on Florida despite $200 million spent to control it.
Rapid self-healing is critical to the invasiveness of an alien green alga that's currently wreaking havoc in the Mediterranean Sea.
The voyagers discover a strange pulse of energy from another dimension that is wreaking havoc on nearby inhabited planets.