Alternative formsEdit



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


havoc ‎(usually uncountable, plural havocs)

  1. widespread devastation, destruction
    • Bible, Acts viii. 3
      As for Saul, he made havoc of the church.
    • Addison
      Ye gods, what havoc does ambition make / Among your works!
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The People that Time Forgot[1], HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2008:
      But when I had come to that part of the city which I judged to have contained the relics I sought I found havoc that had been wrought there even greater than elsewhere.
  2. mayhem

Usage notesEdit

The noun havoc is most often used in the set phrase wreak havoc.[1]

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


havoc ‎(third-person singular simple present havocs, present participle havocking, simple past and past participle havocked)

  1. To pillage.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act I, Scene II:
      To tear and havoc more than she can eat.
  2. To cause havoc.

Usage notesEdit

As with other verbs ending in vowel + -c, The gerund-participle is sometimes spelled havocing, and the preterite and past participle is sometimes spelled havoced; for citations using these spellings, see their respective entries. However, the spellings havocking and havocked are far more common. Compare panic, picnic.


  1. ^ Old Hungarian Goulash?, The Grammarphobia Blog, October 31, 2008



  1. A cry in war as the signal for indiscriminate slaughter.
    • Toone
      Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt / With modest warrant.
    • Shakespeare
      Cry "havoc", and let slip the dogs of war!
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