- great destruction or devastation; ruinous damage.
- to work havoc upon; devastate.
- to work havoc: The fire havocked throughout the house.
- cry havoc, to warn of danger or disaster.
- play havoc with,
- to create confusion or disorder in: The wind played havoc with the papers on the desk.
- to destroy; ruin: The bad weather played havoc with our vacation plans.
Origin of havoc
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsdevastation, catastrophe, disruption, confusion, chaos, mayhem, calamity, cataclysm, destruction, ruination, loss, wreckage, dilapidation, wreck, desolation, damage, plunder, shambles, vandalism, waste
Examples from the Web for havoc
She is shocked by the breadth of the havoc unleashed on Gaza and is devastated by the price Palestinians have paid.Hamas Claims ‘Victory’ Amid the Rubble of Gaza
August 28, 2014
An oblique view of baseball full of hijinks, havoc, and humor, this is fandom to the extreme.Home Runs, Frozen Ropes, And Some Wild Cards In Best Baseball Books
April 11, 2014
And Bishop, Colossus, Warpath, Blink, Sunspot, Quiksilver, Stryker and Havoc will all be there too.
Given the public fury, the law may not last, but it has already caused plenty of havoc.Brazil’s Rich Ban Biographies Via Arcane Law
November 21, 2013
The Daily Pic: At the Hirshhorn Museum, Ed Ruscha and others take a refined view of havoc.A Creative Inferno
October 24, 2013
As he did so he wondered if it was possible that Constantine did not realize the havoc he had wrought.The Gorgeous Girl
The ploughshare of havoc has been driven through the gardens of luxury.Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land
Henry Van Dyke
He shuddered at the thought of the havoc which its detonation would cause.The Great Drought
Sterner St. Paul Meek
To these he added the immense range of his migrations, and the havoc he commits.
She did not come back, as some might have done, to view the havoc she had wrought.The Spoilers of the Valley
- destruction; devastation; ruin
- informal confusion; chaos
- cry havoc archaic to give the signal for pillage and destruction
- play havoc (often foll by with) to cause a great deal of damage, distress, or confusion (to)
- (tr) archaic to lay waste
Word Origin and History for havoc
early 15c., from Anglo-French havok in phrase crier havok "cry havoc" (late 14c.), a signal to soldiers to seize plunder, from Old French havot "pillaging, looting," related to haver "to seize, grasp," hef "hook," probably from a Germanic source (see hawk (n.)), or from Latin habere "to have, possess." General sense of "devastation" first recorded late 15c.
Idioms and Phrases with havoc
see cry havoc; play havoc.