wreak havoc

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wreak havoc

To cause a lot of problems. Termites have wreaked havoc on the structural integrity of our house, unfortunately.
See also: havoc, wreak
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
With javelins snatched from the wall he wrought havoc among the foremost of the Okarians while we battled with the insensate metal that stood between our fellows and freedom.
Bravo said fearmongers should not be allowed to go scot-free as 'their lies wrought havoc and cost the lives' of many people, especially children.
The grounding of the best-selling passenger jet in March after two deadly crashes killed 346 people has wrought havoc for the aviation industry, with suppliers and airlines feeling the pinch and global airline seats falling by 40m.
It assessed that 'Glenda' was the strongest typhoon to ever hit the province in recent times, and wrought havoc with a death toll of 17 and around PHP5-billion in damage to infrastructure, agriculture, and livestock
Carlo Lastimosa wrought havoc on the defense of Bulacan, torching the hoop for 27 points.
A 'tornado' wrought havoc as it swept across Mobberley, Altrincham and Hale yesterday (Friday, July 19).
When they failed to protect the line, as they sometimes did, Southern horsemen wrought havoc on the Northern war effort by tearing up its tracks, seizing or torching Union supplies, and laying waste to warehouses, engine houses, and passenger depots.
In that report, the COA called out the attention of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) over its failure to utilize a combined total of P77.887 million of local and foreign funding donations intended for victims of super typhoon Yolanda and the Marawi siege that wrought havoc to our own people in several disaster-stricken places.
News Report An evening violent storm Friday wrought havoc in Dhaka and northern districts, leaving at least eleven dead and many injured.
In the fall of 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman wrought havoc on the economy of the Confederacy with his march to the sea through Georgia and the Carolinas.
"You have wrought havoc over the years by stealing goods."
Around 4.6% of all services run by franchised operators covered the period where a timetable change wrought havoc on Thameslink and Northern services.
The figure was largest since Supertyphoon Yolanda wrought havoc in Philippine farms in 2013.
The president paid a surprise visit to a village in Normandy on his way to what was the first of thousands of debates that officials across the country will hold in an effort to quell "yellow vest" protests that have wrought havoc nationwide.