|1.||destruction; devastation; ruin|
|2.||informal confusion; chaos|
|3.||archaic cry havoc to give the signal for pillage and destruction|
|—vb , -ocs, -ocking, -ocked|
|5.||archaic (tr) to lay waste|
|[C15: from Old French havot pillage, probably of Germanic origin]|
Sound an alarm or warning, as in In his sermon the pastor cried havoc to the congregation's biases against gays. The noun havoc was once a command for invaders to begin looting and killing the defenders' town. Shakespeare so used it in Julius Caesar (3:1): "Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the dogs of war." By the 19th century the phrase had acquired its present meaning.