Definition of havoc in English:

havoc

Line breaks: havoc
Pronunciation: /ˈhavək
 
/

noun

[mass noun]
1Widespread destruction: the hurricane ripped through Florida causing havoc
More example sentences
  • 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.
Synonyms
devastation, destruction, damage, desolation, depredation, despoliation, ruination, ruin, disaster, ravagement, waste, catastrophe
1.1Great confusion or disorder: if they weren’t at school they’d be wreaking havoc in the streets
More example sentences
  • 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.
Synonyms
disorder, chaos, disruption, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, turmoil, tumult, confusion, uproar; commotion, upheaval, furore, shambles
informal hullabaloo, a madhouse
North American informal a three-ring circus

verb (havocs, havocking, havocked)

[with object] archaic Back to top  
Lay waste to; devastate.
More example sentences
  • The lack of participants is associated to a large storm that havocked Latvia in January 2005 and uprooted and destroyed large forest areas.
  • In the year 2139 the world is havocked by a cataclysm of seismic activity.

Origin

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.

Phrases

play havoc with

Completely disrupt: shift work plays havoc with the body clock
More 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.
Synonyms
disturb, disrupt, disorder, disorganize, disarrange, interfere with, upset, unsettle, convulse; obstruct, impede, hamper; hold up, delay, retard, slow (down); throw into confusion, throw into disorder, throw into disarray, cause confusion/turmoil in, derange, turn upside-down, make a mess of; ruin, wreck, spoil, undo, mar, frustrate, blight, crush, quell, quash, dash, scotch, shatter, devastate, demolish, sabotage
informal mess up, screw up, louse up, foul up, make a hash of, do in, put paid to, put the lid on, put the kibosh on, stymie, queer, nix, banjax, blow a hole in
British informal scupper, dish, throw a spanner in the works of
North American informal throw a monkey wrench in the works of
Australian informal euchre, cruel

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