The shit hits the fan. The big red switch gets frobbed. Cats and dogs living together. Mass Hysteria. This is usually a bad thing.

"Wherefore with thee / Came not all hell broke loose?"

This quote from John Milton's Paradise Lost (Book IV, lines 917-18) is the source of the common English expression. Note how in the original form, 'broke' is describing an ongoing condition (all hell, which had broken loose), whereas in the commonly used expression it describes an event (as soon as the monkeys escaped their cage, all hell broke loose). Another common expression relating to chaos also comes from Paradise Lost: the word 'pandemonium.' Meaning 'the abode of all demons,' it is the name for the palace the fallen angels build for themselves in hell.

An e-text of all of Paradise Lost is available at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_1/

Paradise Lost was first printed in 1667.

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