havoc

noun
hav·​oc | \ ˈha-vək, -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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Unlike traditional makeup products, mineral makeup lines are free of dyes, and fragrances that can wreak havoc on fussy skin. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Your Nose, Chin and Forehead," 28 Dec. 2018 Archie's vigilante group turned mafia squad goes a little crazy when Hiram starts paying them to wreak havoc on Riverdale, including slashing tires and setting fires on the Southside. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 These tariffs have already wreaked havoc on American businesses that use aluminum and steel to produce everything from automobiles to beer kegs and baseball bats. David Mcintosh, WSJ, "No New Nafta Until Tariffs Have Been Lifted," 9 Dec. 2018 Gizmo is a nice pet, until of course one of those things happen and the gremlins wreak havoc on an entire town the night before Christmas. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best '80s Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today," 23 Oct. 2018 Brad Plumer wrote for Vox about what happens when the sun erupts and sends space weather our way to wreak havoc on Earth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "A brief scientific guide to the first day of spring.," 20 Sep. 2018 Even beneath all of biking's protective gear, a day of pore-clogging dust and sweat and hydration-sapping wind wreaks havoc on your complexion. Mackenzie Wagoner, Glamour, "7 Motorcyclists on Deep-Cleaning Face Washes They Swear By," 18 Oct. 2018 Inside the body, lead can slip into human cells easily and wreak havoc. Julia Belluz, Vox, "The Trump administration’s attack on children’s health protections," 27 Sep. 2018 When a team banks enough motes (25 and 50), a portal opens, and one player can jump through to the other team’s map to wreak havoc. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "Destiny 2: Forsaken review: Hallelujah, Destiny’s back," 19 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about havoc

Dictionary Entries near havoc

Havirov

havlagah

havna

havoc

haw

Hawaii

Hawaii-Aleutian time

Statistics for havoc

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for havoc

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of havoc

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on havoc

What made you want to look up havoc? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by shyness and lack of polish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!