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


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 Without a congressional response, economists widely agree that a breach risks financial and economic havoc, with the federal government potentially forced to miss payments, such as Social Security checks to seniors. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 5 Oct. 2021 Most of us understand the negative impacts of dehydration on our overall health, but not enough of us are aware of its potential to wreak such visible havoc on our complexions. Devon Abelman, Allure, 4 Oct. 2021 There are unresolved issues that have been deep rooted for decades but there are also new ones brought on by the havoc of the pandemic. Omar Jimenez And Priya Krishnakumar, CNN, 3 Oct. 2021 There are nasty attacks that leverage data and capable platforms to massively increase their chances of success, minimize traceable footprints, and leverage havoc against an untold number of targets. Emil Sayegh, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 This month, that havoc could reach a new level, resulting in physical violence against teachers and other school employees. Alia Wong, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 And now, finally, this Saturday fans will get to see machines like Big Foot, Bone Shaker and Race Ace — a new truck making its debut at the Yum Center — wreak havoc. J.l. Kirven, The Courier-Journal, 30 Sep. 2021 For as much havoc as LSU’s defensive front has caused with its pass-rush, Ed Orgeron’s team has also been stout against the run. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 29 Sep. 2021 Some of the two dozen people involved with the protest hold out hope that the city might somehow revert to an earlier plan that would wreak less havoc on the park. Caroline Spivack, Curbed, 28 Sep. 2021 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, 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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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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Learn More About havoc

Time Traveler for havoc

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for havoc

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Havoc.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/havoc. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for havoc



English Language Learners Definition of havoc

: a situation in which there is much destruction or confusion


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on havoc

Nglish: Translation of havoc for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of havoc for Arabic Speakers


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