Definition of havoc in English:
- Marcellus was struck down sick and incapacitated when a galactic storm struck the outer planets, creating destruction and havoc.
- A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that descends on land, creating havoc and destruction in its wake.
- With that, the fight broke loose, along with pure havoc and destruction.
- Many people fear that if children weren't at school they be wreaking havoc in the streets all day.
- Sutton's police chief has pledged to make the borough the safest in London by waging war on career criminals and drug traders wreaking havoc in our communities.
- One easy-going and tolerant who could not understand fellow travellers who complained about her children wreaking havoc on a long train journey.
verb (havocs, havocking, havocked)[with object] archaic Back to top
late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French havok, alteration of Old French havot, of unknown origin. The word was originally used in the phrase cry havoc (Old French crier havot) 'to give an army the order havoc', which was the signal for plundering.
A victorious army commander would once have given his soldiers a signal to start plundering: he would cry havoc. The sense of plunder gradually passed into destructive devastation, and the army itself would make havoc. Outside the battlefield other people and other circumstances eventually began to work havoc or, from the 20th century, to create or wreak havoc and to play havoc with something. The word havoc itself is a medieval alteration of French havot of unknown origin. The word was memorably used by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar: ‘Cry, “Havoc!”, and let slip the dogs of war.’ See also mayhem
play havoc with
- Completely disrupt; cause serious damage to: shift work plays havoc with the body clockMore example sentences
- Frequently stopping to rest plays havoc with your body's temperature - and leaves you drenched in sweat.
- Also, try not to skip meals - it plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, your emotions and your metabolism.
- Manual labour obviously plays havoc with your digestive system.
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.