Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War Meaning
Definition: Cause chaos and release dogs trained to attack during warfare; create chaos and violence in other situations.
This expression is easier to understand when broken down into its separate components.
Cry havoc means for a military commander to give the order to cause chaos by allowing the soldiers to pillage and otherwise destroy an area.
Let slip means to unleash. In modern variations of this phrase let slip is also expressed as release, unleash, let loose, etc.
The dogs of war can have a literal meaning, which would be dogs trained to fight in war. In the modern sense, the dogs of war can simply mean soldiers, weaponry, missiles, etc.
Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War
The meaning of the phrase ‘cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war’ is that by doing a specific action, chaos may follow on from that.
Origin of this idiom
The origin of this phrase is from William Shakespeare who used the term in his play Julius Caesar. The term is made up of several phrases which have one meaning when put together. Havoc! was a cry to war used by military leaders many years ago. To let slip refers to the release of something and the dogs of war are aggressive dogs which are trained to attack on command. When put altogether, these terms make up the meaning that once the word havoc is cried, the attacking dogs will be released and chaos will ensue.
Only about 200 of the several thousand canines that served in Vietnam ever made it back home. While hundreds were sent on to other military assignments, perhaps a thousand were turned over to the Vietnamese, a fact some veterans equate with abandonment or a death sentence in a country where dogs were sometimes eaten for dinner. About 300 were killed in action.
This year the War Dog Memorial Fund erected two memorials to honor the contributions of military dogs one in Riverside, California, the other at Fort Benning, Georgia. A bill that passed the House and Senate in October will allow handlers and other qualified persons to adopt the dogs when their service is over, a situation not permitted in recent decades. Recommended Videos Most Popular
Early in July 1943, more than 160,000 troops in Pattons Seventh Army hit the beach in Sicily under a deafening naval bombardment. With them was an unarmed G.I. who could hear and smell things no ordinary soldier could detect. Although some of his companions wondered what use he could be against tanks and machine guns, they would soon be glad he was on their side. His name was Chips and he was a dog.