havoc

[ hav-uhk ]
/ ˈhæv ək /

noun

great destruction or devastation; ruinous damage.

verb (used with object), hav·ocked, hav·ock·ing.

to work havoc upon; devastate.

verb (used without object), hav·ocked, hav·ock·ing.

to work havoc: The fire havocked throughout the house.

Idioms

    cry havoc, to warn of danger or disaster.
    play havoc with,
    1. to create confusion or disorder in: The wind played havoc with the papers on the desk.
    2. to destroy; ruin: The bad weather played havoc with our vacation plans.

Origin of havoc

1400–50; late Middle English havok < Anglo-French (in phrase crier havok to cry havoc, i.e., utter the command havoc! as signal for pillaging), Middle French havot in same sense < Germanic

Related forms

hav·ock·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for havoc

British Dictionary definitions for havoc

havoc

/ (ˈhævək) /

noun

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)

verb -ocs, -ocking or -ocked

(tr) archaic to lay waste

Word Origin for havoc

C15: from Old French havot pillage, probably of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with havoc

havoc


see cry havoc; play havoc.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.