1419, from Anglo-Fr. havok
in phrase crier havok
"cry havoc" (1385), a signal to soldiers to seize plunder, from O.Fr. havot
"plundering, devastation" (fr. avoir
), from a Gmc. source (see hawk
(n.)), or from L. habere
"to have, possess." General sense of "devastation" first recorded c.1480.