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play hell with something

Slang definitions & phrases for play hell with something

play hell with something

verb phrase

To damage or destroy: The rain had played hell with business/ Gloria played merry hell with the filing system

[1803+; fr play hell and Tommy, attested in the mid-19th century and said to be fr earlier play Hal and Tommy, in reference to the behavior of Henry VIII and his minister Thomas Cromwell]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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