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

Comments

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  • Cry havoc and let slip the cherry blossom.

    March 20, 2012

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

    March 20, 2012

  • '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

  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer pg. 245

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

    December 2, 2010

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

    October 30, 2010

  • "carnage, desperate slaughter."

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

    October 9, 2008

  • Plath citations: see note at blight.

    March 26, 2008

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

    December 18, 2006