Play hell with something

verb phrase

To damage or destroy: The rain had played hell with business/ Gloria played merry hell with the filing system

[1803+; fr play hell and Tommy, attested in the mid-19th century and said to be fr earlier play Hal and Tommy, in reference to the behavior of Henry VIII and his minister Thomas Cromwell]


Read Also:

  • Play havoc

    Also, raise or wreak havoc . Disrupt, damage, or destroy something, as in The wind played havoc with her hair , or The fire alarm raised havoc with the children , or The earthquake wrought havoc in the town . The noun havoc was once used as a command for invaders to begin looting and […]

  • Play hide and seek

    Evade or seem to evade someone. For example, Bill is hard to pin down—he’s always playing hide and seek. This expression alludes to the children’s game in which one player tries to find others who are hiding. It has been used figuratively since the mid-1600s.

  • Play hide the weenie

    verb phrase To do the sex act; copulate; screw: So Craig suggested that we play hide the salami (1980s+)

  • Play hooky

    verb phrase To stay away from work and duty, or esp from school without an excuse; be truant [1848+; probably fr hook it] Be absent from school or some other obligation without permission, as in It was such a beautiful day that Herb played hooky from work. In this term, the noun hooky may have […]

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