Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Widespread destruction; devastation.
  • noun Disorder or chaos.
  • transitive verb To destroy or pillage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An early Middle English form of hawk, surviving till later times in the phrase to cry havoc.
  • noun General and relentless destruction.
  • noun To shout for the beginning or the continuation of a work of indiscriminate destruction or rapine.
  • To work general destruction upon; devastate; destroy; lay waste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • interjection A cry in war as the signal for indiscriminate slaughter.
  • transitive verb To devastate; to destroy; to lay waste.
  • noun Wide and general destruction; devastation; waste.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun devastation, destruction
  • noun mayhem
  • verb To pillage.
  • verb To cause havoc.
  • interjection A cry in war as the signal for indiscriminate slaughter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun violent and needless disturbance

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English havok, from Anglo-Norman (crier) havok, (to cry) havoc, variant of Old French havot, plundering, of Germanic origin.]

Examples

  • Things are tearing apart all over the places, bloody havoc is being committed, the planet's coming apart at the seams ... and this inspires hair-tearing and chest-beating and rending of garments across the land?

    And now it's no more Open Source Boobs, it's the Miley Cyrus In A Bedsheet Show!

  • The threat of the havoc is more bark than bite, though; although we see some of the effects of the fast burn, they are somewhat downplayed in favor of Constance's relationships with he mother and her partner, Andy.

    REVIEW: The Year's Best Science Fiction #25 edited by Gardner Dozois

  • Props 1A-1F must be defeated, because they would wreak long-term havoc on the state.

    Paul Hogarth: Arnold's May Special Election: Just Say No!

  • Mr. Brooks seems to think that the reason the insurgents are causing such havoc is because the majority of Americans now see that its a disaster.

    June 2005

  • How fatal the consequences are! the hireling fancies the sheep may look to themselves, but it does not prove so: the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep, and woeful havoc is made of the flock, which will all be charged upon the treacherous shepherd.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Attempts to reign in spending will likely lead to higher unemployment and may raise winds of deflationary pressure that will wreak long-term havoc to the economy.

    Hot Air » Top Picks

  • Attempts to reign in spending will likely lead to higher unemployment and may raise winds of deflationary pressure that will wreak long-term havoc to the economy.

    Hot Air » Top Picks

  • These types of fears have caused short-term havoc with the shares price in the past but the core earnings just keep chugging along on their upward path.

    SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page

  • These types of fears have caused short-term havoc with the shares price in the past but the core earnings just keep chugging along on their upward path.

    GuruFocus Updates

  • Props 1A-1F must be defeated, because they would wreak long-term havoc on the state.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Comments

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  • "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war."

    December 18, 2006

  • Plath citations: see note at blight.

    March 26, 2008

  • "carnage, desperate slaughter."

    I always think of the quotation in SoG's comment, below.

    October 9, 2008

  • General distruction: The hurricane wrecked hevok in central Fl. (newbuery house dic)

    October 30, 2010

  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer pg. 245

    "His spirit army and wreaked havoc on the intruders."

    December 2, 2010

  • 'Vancouver's iconic cherry blossom festival could also be hit by a lagging spring.

    "The really early cherries flower normally, but the ones that would normally come out, say the first of April, come out a week or two later," Justice said. "And everything gets pushed back.

    "That creates havoc because the cherry blossom festival is essentially the month of April."'

    - Spring brings more cold, snow and rain, Vancouversun.com, 20-03-12.

    March 20, 2012

  • Wow. Sounds like those late bloomers will decimate the tourist trade.

    March 20, 2012

  • Cry havoc and let slip the cherry blossom.

    March 20, 2012