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play havoc

Also, raise or wreak havoc . Disrupt, damage, or destroy something, as in The wind played havoc with her hair , or The fire alarm raised havoc with the children , or The earthquake wrought havoc in the town . The noun havoc was once used as a command for invaders to begin looting and killing, but by the 1800s the term was being used for somewhat less aggressive activities. For a synonym, see play the devil with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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