American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A place or situation of noisy uproar and confusion.
- n. Archaic An insane asylum.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. [capitalized] The hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, originally a priory, founded about 1247, but afterward used as an asylum for lunatics.
- n. Hence A madhouse; a lunatic asylum.
- n. A scene of wild uproar and confusion.
- n. An inmate or a patient of Bethlehem Hospital, or Bedlam; specifically, one discharged as cured (though often only partially cured) and licensed to beg. Such persons wore a tin plate as a badge on their left arm, and were known as bedlam beggars, bedlamites, or bedlamers.
- n. Hence In general, a madman; a lunatic.
- Belonging to or fit for a bedlam or madhouse; mad; mentally deranged.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A place appropriated to the confinement and care of the insane; a madhouse.
- n. obsolete An insane person; a lunatic; a madman.
- n. Any place where uproar and confusion prevail.
- adj. Belonging to, or fit for, a madhouse.
- n. a state of extreme confusion and disorder
- n. pejorative terms for an insane asylum
- From Bedlam, alternative name of the English lunatic asylum, Bethlem Royal Hospital (royal hospital from 1375, mental hospital from 1403) (earlier St Mary of Bethlehem outside Bishopsgate, hospice in existence from 1329, priory established 1247), sense used to mean “a place or situation of madness and chaos”. Bedlam as name of hospital attested 1450. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English Bedlem, Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem, an institution in London for the mentally ill. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“N.B. apologizes for H1N1 vaccination 'bedlam' health is apologizing for what he describes as the bedlam that surrounded the H1N1 vaccine rollout in October.”
“The trick to semi-managing all this happy bedlam is to invite a few school teachers.”
“Cutting to the Chase - film reviews and news from Oklahoma firedoglake - where "bedlam is dreaming of rain”
“Every man set to work for himself, and it was again bedlam broke loose as at the other plantation.”
“In one asylum in London, St. Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital - form which the word bedlam is derived - the public could buy tickets to observe the antics of the inmates, much as we would pay to see a circus sideshow or animals at the zoo.”
“Bethlem's name gave rise to the word bedlam, and comes from a shortened version of St Mary Bethlehem, the name of one of the oldest asylums in the western world.”
“The apparent disorderliness of many things in decision making has led some people to argue that there is very little order to collective choice and that it is best described as bedlam.”
“The sound of the bedlam was a continuous roar of voices and a continuous shuffle of feet.”
“He is a distracted man, he raves and is delirious, and no more to be heard than the rambles of a man in bedlam.”
“Truly Nolen Pest Control says if your free inspection turns up a bed bug problem, it generally requires three separate treatments of the entire house over a 30-day period using a chemical known as bedlam to make sure the bed bugs don't bite again.”
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