bedlam

bedlam

[bed-luhm]
noun
1.
a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion.
2.
Archaic. an insane asylum or madhouse.

Origin:
a popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, which served as a lunatic asylum from circa 1400; compare Middle English Bedleem, Bethleem, Old English Betleem Bethlehem


1. disorder, tumult, chaos, clamor, turmoil, commotion, pandemonium.
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World English Dictionary
bedlam (ˈbɛdləm)
 
n
1.  a noisy confused place or situation; state of uproar: his speech caused bedlam
2.  archaic a lunatic asylum; madhouse
 
[C13 bedlem, bethlem, after the Hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem in London]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bedlam
"scene of mad confusion," 1660s, from colloquial pronunciation of "Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem" in London, founded 1247 as a priory, mentioned as a hospital 1330 and as a lunatic hospital 1402; converted to a state lunatic asylum on dissolution of the monasteries in 1547.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

bedlam

the first asylum for the mentally ill in England. It is currently located in Beckenham, Kent. The word bedlam came to be used generically for all psychiatric hospitals and sometimes is used colloquially for an uproar.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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