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Picture of Caterwauller
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When you're having a havoc, are you playing havoc or wreaking havoc?

Which leads me then to wonder, what does one wreak if not a havoc? Dictionary.com suggests one can wreak revenge, but I've never heard it used that way. Have any of you?

I have heard people say "exact revenge" which makes "exact" into a verb, then, right? The verb form means to force or compel, demand as a right, call for or require . . . yup, that sounds right. I guess I've heard people say "exact a payment", but it's rare and I'd venture to guess that many normals would not understand what you were saying.


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Posts: 5149 | Location: Columbus, OhioReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, you've brought up some great points. I agree about "wreaked." I've not seen anything, except "havoc," being wreaked.

I have also heard to "exact" a payment. When I look it up in dictionary.com, to "exact" a payment means to "force or compel" a payment. I am not sure I realized that.
 
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Hmmmm... I've met the Grim Wreaker! Roll Eyes
An OE word originally meaning drive out. An archaic meaning was to avenge, thus my initial comment, so it's not as silly as it seems.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
Posts: 4448 | Location: In a cornfield in central IndianaReply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've only heard it used with "havoc." Although, like Geoff says, my grandfather in later years had severe intestinal problems, so we called him the Grim Reeker.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
Posts: 6003 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Naturlly, shortly after posting the last, I came across an article in which it was reported that "a tornado wreaked destruction...."


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
Posts: 6003 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
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From the OED Online
quote:
havoc, n.
2.
Devastation, destruction; esp. in phr. to make havoc, to play havoc (freq. const. with), in which the earlier sense of spoliation or plunder has gradually passed into that of destructive devastation. Also in weakened sense: confusion and disorder, disarray. The phrases to work havoc and to create havoc are also common.

wreak, v.
8 b.
To cause or effect (harm, damage, etc.), esp. in phr. to wreak havoc. (For wrought havoc see work v. 10.)

1817 Shelley Laon & Cythna ii. xxxix. 51 With thee..will I seek Through their array of banded slaves to wreak Ruin upon the tyrants.

1819 Shelley Rosalind & Helen 37 That poor and hungry men should break The laws which wreak them toil and scorn, We understand.

1865 Dickens Our Mutual Friend II. iii. ii. 17 [In] the fog..the unpopular steamer..always was..wreaking destruction upon somebody or something.

1880 Daily News 22 Sept., Landslips..are looked for and wreak but little harm.

1926 A. Christie Murder of Roger Ackroyd xx. 239 Annie is not allowed to wreak havoc with a dustpan and brush.

1976 B. Fell America B.C. viii. 101 The storm waves could surely wreak more havoc upon the timbered hulls of Phoenician galleys than on the steel plates of modern ships.

1978 C. Rayner Long Acre vii. 70 Fenton, well aware of the havoc he was wreaking in poor Miss Emma's heart, wickedly fed her passion for him.

1983 Times 21 Nov. 7/7 Moko, the banana disease, has already wreaked havoc on the trade.

1984 Daily Tel. 5 Nov. 20/2 The feared shake-out in microcomputer manufacturing..will wreak havoc in the industry.


Another definition of wreak in the OED is "To give vent or expression to, to exercise or gratify (wrath, anger, etc.); to vent." (Def 3a) The quotes include "to wreake his wrath," "to wreake his fell intent," "wreaking their anger," "to wreake their malice,"'Tis my hate and the deferred desire To wreak it," and "wreaked his disappointment."
 
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Now that proof mentions it, I may have heard about "wreaking" destruction. It certainly makes sense with Tinman's post.
 
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From some of the havoc created by the poor sanitation around here (around where I live, that is, not around the wordcraft community) I think reek havoc would be the approriate choice.

Big Grin
 
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Wow...we've been missing you, Bob. Great to see you back. Sorry about the poor sanitation.
 
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