Definition of havoc in English:

havoc

noun

mass noun
  • 1Widespread destruction.

    ‘the hurricane ripped through Florida causing havoc’
    • ‘Marcellus was struck down sick and incapacitated when a galactic storm struck the outer planets, creating destruction and havoc.’
    • ‘Heavy rains and rising water are wreaking havoc across Europe.’
    • ‘But the championship got off to an inauspicious start with the tsunami wreaking havoc on the Kollam coast on the inaugural day.’
    • ‘Man-made destruction seems easier to understand and explain than indiscriminate natural havoc.’
    • ‘With that, the fight broke loose, along with pure havoc and destruction.’
    • ‘Drought is wreaking havoc in the Thanjavur belt of Tamil Nadu.’
    • ‘The disease was first noted in France in 1847, where it soon spread and caused widespread havoc to vineyards and wine quality.’
    • ‘Ivan tore through Grenada last year, wreaking havoc and taking with it lives, homes and livestock.’
    • ‘A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that descends on land, creating havoc and destruction in its wake.’
    • ‘On that fateful night a disastrous landslide wreaked havoc on their scenic community.’
    • ‘Delta wreaked havoc in popular holiday destination islands, killing seven people and leaving a trail of mass destruction.’
    • ‘Some of the worst storms on record lashed the North wreaking havoc on roads and flooding hundreds of homes.’
    • ‘The AIDS epidemic is wreaking havoc in sub-Saharan Africa.’
    • ‘This division was also the site for catamaran carnage with the wind wreaking havoc in the 12-boat fleet.’
    • ‘Windows have been smashed, paving pulled up, shop staff intimidated and telephone boxes destroyed as yobs caused havoc in the Thornhill area of the city.’
    • ‘It is obvious that if foxes were a serious threat to agriculture, half a million of them would cause devastation and havoc.’
    • ‘Opponents also fear GM crop technology could lead to new herbicide-resistant weeds, which could cause havoc in the countryside.’
    • ‘Yesterday afternoon's heavy downpour and hail here caused havoc and widespread powercuts across the province.’
    • ‘For the second time that morning the capricious wind was wreaking havoc.’
    • ‘Hail, when it crashes through to the surface can cause much damage, to the level of havoc even.’
    devastation, destruction, damage, desolation, depredation, despoliation, ruination, ruin, disaster, ravagement, waste, catastrophe
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    1. 1.1 Great confusion or disorder.
      ‘if they weren't at school they'd be wreaking havoc in the streets’
      • ‘In this one, she's a scientist trying to deal with an enormous octopus wreaking havoc in San Francisco.’
      • ‘Since it was launched five weeks ago, several people have contacted the It's Your Call hotline to complain about teenage bikers wreaking havoc.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We need to help consumers leap-frog the illegal downloading issues that have wreaked havoc on the music industry.’
      • ‘A number of school pupils and restaurant staff are being put in quarantine as the north west battles to stop the Sars virus wreaking havoc.’
      • ‘Her family work as daily labourers and a day off can wreak havoc for the family's economy.’
      • ‘My mother-in-law is mentally ill and wreaking havoc on our marriage.’
      • ‘He said a gang of about 30 teenagers have been causing havoc for the past six months.’
      • ‘A series of lightning strikes in the North and the South-East have been wreaking havoc with supply.’
      • ‘Later came laws limiting working hours, forbidding child labour and other abuses, to curb the widespread social havoc.’
      • ‘He stared at me, his intensely blue eyes wreaking havoc in my mind.’
      • ‘At first, it seemed she didn't have a chance, with a horrible cold that wreaked havoc with her voice.’
      • ‘A notorious pyramid selling scam, which caused havoc among small communities on the Isle of Wight last year, has reared its ugly head in Scotland again.’
      • ‘Many people fear that if children weren't at school they be wreaking havoc in the streets all day.’
      • ‘The black striped mussel has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to marine industries around the world, and can cause havoc for shipping.’
      • ‘One easy-going and tolerant who could not understand fellow travellers who complained about her children wreaking havoc on a long train journey.’
      • ‘But the group insists that the size of the development is too large for the conservation area and would bring traffic havoc to already congested lanes.’
      • ‘Off-road bikers wreaking havoc are being warned that police could soon have the power to confiscate their machines.’
      • ‘The novel deals with a small band of ‘radicals’ who try to stir up revolt in a small town and end up wreaking havoc.’
      • ‘It appears that the beast has escaped, and is again wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting residents of Bucharest.’
      disorder, chaos, disruption, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, turmoil, tumult, confusion, uproar
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Lay waste to; devastate.

    • ‘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.’
    lay waste, devastate, ruin, leave in ruins, destroy, wreak havoc on, leave desolate, level, raze, demolish, wipe out, wreck, damage
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Phrases

  • play havoc with

    • Completely disrupt.

      ‘shift work plays havoc with the body clock’
      • ‘The body needs to adjust back to the lower altitude and greater supply of oxygen which somehow plays havoc with sleep.’
      • ‘A massive winter storm across much of the eastern half of the nation is playing havoc with Christmas travel for millions of Americans.’
      • ‘Frequently stopping to rest plays havoc with your body's temperature - and leaves you drenched in sweat.’
      • ‘The price of gas at the pumps is playing havoc with road-trip budgets.’
      • ‘Manual labour obviously plays havoc with your digestive system.’
      • ‘Wildlife experts in Southampton say milder winters are playing havoc with the flowering patterns of plants - because they no longer have to wait for warmer spells in which to grow.’
      • ‘Short days, long nights and the weather playing havoc with sport.’
      • ‘Curiosity was playing havoc with my better judgment.’
      • ‘Also, try not to skip meals - it plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, your emotions and your metabolism.’
      • ‘And I apologize for the disjointed, rambling nature of this post - the not smoking thing is really playing havoc with my mind.’
      disturb, disrupt, disorder, disorganize, disarrange, interfere with, upset, unsettle, convulse
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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.

Pronunciation

havoc

/ˈhavək/