havoc

noun
hav·​oc | \ ˈha-vək How to pronounce havoc (audio) , -vik\

Definition of havoc

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wide and general destruction : devastation A tornado wreaked havoc on the town two years ago.
2 : great confusion and disorder the blackout caused havoc in the city

havoc

verb
havocked; havocking

Definition of havoc (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to lay waste : destroy

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Examples of havoc in a Sentence

Noun

The disease can play havoc with the body's immune system. Several small children can create havoc in a house.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If the clouds cleared up the sun, heat, and humidity will destroy your skin and if the clouds decided to stick around for longer, the water can really wreak havoc on your hair. Teen Vogue, "These 12 Beauty Products Are Just As Important As Your Coachella Outfits," 9 Apr. 2019 In fact, beekeeper error isn't the only common cause of death—pests, especially certain kinds of mice, can also wreak havoc on your hives. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Beekeeping for Beginners: Everything to Know About Starting Your Own Colony," 5 Apr. 2019 Dorman also points out that this habit will wreak havoc on your skin in the long-run. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Exactly How to Do Winged Eyeliner, According to Celebrity Makeup Artists," 31 Jan. 2019 Prepare to lose it once more when Mary goes blind (still not over this), happy cry during Laura's wedding to Almanzo Wilder, and throw popcorn at your TV when an anthrax outbreak wreaks havoc on the pastoral Walnut Grove. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'Little House on the Prairie' Is Now Streaming on Amazon So Cancel Your Weekend Plans," 6 Mar. 2019 Getty Images The Woolsey wildfire is wreaking havoc on Southern California, burning indiscriminately through neighborhoods in the hills surrounding Los Angeles. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The 'Bachelor' Mansion Is Directly in the Path of the California Wildfires," 10 Nov. 2018 The 19-year-old Mbappe has been the biggest sensation at the tournament in Russia, scoring three goals — including two against Argentina in the round of 16 — and creating havoc for opposing defenses with his pace and his agility. Graham Dunbar, chicagotribune.com, "Mbappe's France face Croatia's Modric for the World Cup title," 14 July 2018 The Wings have encouraged Mantha to use James van Riemsdyk (who just signed a long-term deal with the Flyers) as an example of the type of hockey Mantha needs to play to be successful — go to the net and create havoc down low. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Red Wings short-term deal with Anthony Mantha makes sense," 11 July 2018 Monsoon season in Arizona can create havoc around the valley. Jessica Suriano, azcentral, "Phoenix monsoon storms: Best things to do when the power goes out," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So asking other states for help before Maria, which might have lined up resources for Puerto Rico more quickly, would have been an expensive undertaking without knowing for sure what havoc the storm would wreak. Patricia Mazzei And Omaya Sosa Pascual, miamiherald, "How a slow response hurt Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria | Miami Herald," 19 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'havoc.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of havoc

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1575, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for havoc

Noun and Verb

Middle English havok, from Anglo-French, modification of Old French havot plunder

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Dictionary Entries near havoc

Havirov

havlagah

havna

havoc

haw

Hawaii

Hawaii-Aleutian time

Statistics for havoc

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for havoc

The first known use of havoc was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for havoc

havoc

noun

English Language Learners Definition of havoc

: a situation in which there is much destruction or confusion

havoc

noun
hav·​oc | \ ˈha-vək How to pronounce havoc (audio) \

Kids Definition of havoc

1 : wide destruction The storm wreaked havoc.
2 : great confusion and lack of order My young nephews caused havoc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on havoc

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for havoc

Spanish Central: Translation of havoc

Nglish: Translation of havoc for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of havoc for Arabic Speakers

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