bed·​lam | \ ˈbed-ləm How to pronounce bedlam (audio) \

Definition of bedlam

1 : a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion There was bedlam in the streets after the verdict was announced.
2 or Bedlam : an asylum for the mentally ill
3 obsolete : madman, lunatic

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Synonyms for bedlam


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Examples of bedlam in a Sentence

The park had never had so many visitors at one time. It was total bedlam. French physician Philippe Pinel was instrumental in the transformation of bedlams from filthy hellholes to well-ordered, humane institutions.
Recent Examples on the Web The bedlam inside had the scoreboard swaying above the action on the floor. oregonlive, "Bud Withers' book ‘Mad Hoops’ captures the Dick Harter era in Oregon Ducks basketball, floor burns and all," 24 Oct. 2020 Moving into a new apartment has given the couple only slightly more control over the bedlam of operating a full-fledged bakery from home during a global health crisis. Natalie Kitroeff, New York Times, "2 Broke Artists Started a Bakery at Home. It’s a Pandemic Hit.," 21 Oct. 2020 Amid the bedlam, James Patriack wore a No. 23 James jersey and openly drank from a bottle of champagne without getting hassled by the police. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "Lakers fans party outside Staples Center to celebrate NBA title: 'One of the good things of 2020'," 12 Oct. 2020 Add to the equation a notoriously unpredictable incumbent against a backdrop of unprecedented social and economic conditions, and making accurate predictions about potential post-election bedlam is impossible, as much as scholars and others may try. Ore Koren, The Conversation, "Election violence in November? Here’s what the research says," 28 Sep. 2020 That scored the tying run and the bedlam that followed saw the winning run slide home, creating a 10-9 final score. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "League City Little League 11s, 10s all-star teams capture District 14 titles on their home turf," 10 Aug. 2020 While such bedlam is possible, a likelier scenario is less dramatic: bumbling along. The Economist, "Time to rediscover statesmanship Three future scenarios for the UN," 20 June 2020 By nightfall, protesters universally refused to give their names and refused to respond to reporters' questions amid the shouting, bedlam and confrontations with police. Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Peaceful protest against police brutality leads into night of unrest in downtown Detroit," 31 May 2020 Jones flew in to slam through a 3-point miss by a teammate, and bedlam followed. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Future NFL star made craziest dunk DeMarcus Cousins has seen," 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bedlam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bedlam

1522, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for bedlam

Bedlam, popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, London, an asylum for the mentally ill, from Middle English Bedlem Bethlehem

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Cite this Entry

“Bedlam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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English Language Learners Definition of bedlam

: a very noisy and confused state or scene


bed·​lam | \ ˈbed-ləm How to pronounce bedlam (audio) \

Kids Definition of bedlam

: a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion

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Nglish: Translation of bedlam for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about bedlam

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