cry havoc



From the Anglo-Norman phrase crier havok (cry havoc) a signal to soldiers to seize plunder, from Old French crier (cry out, shout) + havot (pillaging, looting).


cry havoc

  1. (obsolete) To shout out 'Havoc!'; that is, to give an army the order to plunder.
    • 1599, Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war — Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
    • 1608, Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt— Shakespeare, Coriolanus
    • 1961 Aug, George Steiner, “Homer and the Scholars”, The Atlantic Monthly, page 77: 
      War and mortality cry havoc, yet the center holds. That center is the affirmation that actions of body and heroic spirit are in themselves a thing of beauty, that renown shall outweigh the passing terrors of death, and that no catastrophe, not even the fall of Troy, is final.
Last modified on 15 January 2014, at 20:27