havoc vs mayhem what difference

what is difference between havoc and mayhem

English

Alternative forms

  • havock (obsolete)

Etymology

From Middle English havok, havyk, from Old French 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).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈhæv.ək/

Noun

havoc (usually uncountable, plural havocs)

  1. widespread devastation, destruction
    • Ye gods, what havoc does ambition make / Among your works!
  2. mayhem

Usage notes

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

Derived terms

  • play havoc, raise havoc, wreak havoc, cry havoc, break havoc

Translations

Verb

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 notes

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.

Translations

Interjection

havoc

  1. A cry in war as the signal for indiscriminate slaughter.
    • Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt / With modest warrant.

References



English

Alternative forms

  • maihem

Etymology

From Middle English mayme, mahaime, from Anglo-Norman mahaim (mutilation), from Old French mahaign (bodily harm, loss of limb), from Proto-Germanic *maidijaną (to cripple, injure) (compare Middle High German meidem, meiden (gelding), Old Norse meiða (to injure), Gothic ???????????????????????????? (maidjan, to alter, falsify)), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (to change). More at mad. The original meaning referred to the crime of maiming, the other senses derived from this.

Another possible etymology derives the Old French from Provençal maganhar, composed of mal (evil) and ganhar (to obtain, receive) (compare with Spanish ganar and Italian gavagnare and guadagnare), so literally “to obtain, receive something evil).

Meaning #1 may have arisen by popular misunderstanding of the common journalese expression “rioting and mayhem”.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈmeɪhɛm/

Noun

mayhem (usually uncountable, plural mayhems)

  1. A state or situation of great confusion, disorder, trouble or destruction; chaos.
    What if the legendary hero Robin Hood had been born into the mayhem of the 20th century ?
    In all the mayhem, some children were separated from their partners.
    She waded into the mayhem, elbowing between taller men to work her way to the front of the crowd.
    The clowns would dart into the crowd and pull another unsuspecting victim into the mayhem of the ring
  2. Infliction of violent injury on a person or thing.
    The fighting dogs created mayhem in the flower beds.
  3. (law) The maiming of a person by depriving him of the use of any of his limbs which are necessary for defense or protection.
  4. (law) The crime of damaging things or harming people on purpose.

Synonyms

  • See Thesaurus:disorder, Thesaurus:commotion

Translations

References


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