Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war


      • cause chaos or destruction
        To incite or unleash chaos and violence, usually in a military or political context. Can also be used figuratively to describe causing any kind of disorder or turmoil.

      • declare or initiate a state of war
        To formally announce or begin a state of war, often used in a dramatic or forceful manner.

    Examples of Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war

    • The CEO announced his plans to cut back on staff, causing a dramatic outburst amongst his team. One employee yelled, "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!" as she stormed out of the meeting.

      In this example, "Cry havoc" is a call to chaos or destruction, indicating that the CEO's decision will have serious consequences. "Let slip the dogs of war" alludes to Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", where it represents unleashing intense conflict or violence.

    • The looming prospect of a government shutdown had politicians scrambling to avoid blame. The senator warned his colleagues, "We must be wary of Cry Havoc, lest we become the dogs of war."

      Here, "Cry Havoc" is used as a warning against creating a chaotic or dangerous situation. "Dogs of war" refers to the uncontrollable and unpredictable nature of conflict.

    • After months of tension, the situation finally reached a breaking point. Colleagues fired insults at one another, and one staff member exclaimed, "This is worse than Cry Havoc! We're living in a dog's warzone!"

      With "Cry Havoc" used as a metaphor for a chaotic or dangerous situation, "living in a dog's warzone" amplifies the severity by suggesting a direct comparison to war.

    • Heading into the contract negotiations, the opposing team made it clear they were ready to fight. Their spokesperson declared, "We have created a wolf in sheep's clothing program, whose sole purpose is to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!"

      In this example, "Cry Havoc" is used to describe a drastic and aggressive action, in this case, hidden under a guise of friendliness. "Let slip the dogs of war" refers to the potential for violence or conflict that could arise from this tactic.


    This idiom is often used to describe a situation where someone is deliberately causing chaos or destruction, either through their actions or their words. The phrase "cry havoc" comes from the Latin phrase "havoc" which means "to create disorder" and was often used as a command to soldiers to begin pillaging and looting in times of war. The phrase "let slip the dogs of war" is a reference to unleashing trained hunting dogs to chase and attack prey, and is often used metaphorically to describe releasing violence or aggression.

    Origin of "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar", where it is spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 1. In the play, Caesar's assassination has just taken place and Mark Antony is seeking revenge. He uses the phrase "cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war" to rile up the crowd and incite them to take action against the conspirators. This usage of the phrase is seen as a call to arms, urging people to rise up and fight against their enemies.

    Over time, the phrase has evolved to be used in a broader sense, beyond just inciting violence in a military or political context. It can also be used in everyday situations to describe someone causing chaos or destruction, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The idiom has also been used in various forms of media, such as books, movies, and music, further solidifying its place in the English language.