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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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

In face of utter bedlam, fans absolutely certain the Thunder would prevail and advance to the Finals, Thompson became the first player to hit 11 3-pointers in a playoff game. Bruce Jenkins,, "Game 2 joins the list of the Warriors’ greatest road wins," 3 June 2019 Finally authorities harnessed the bedlam so the final five seconds could be played. USA TODAY, "AP Was There: Harris' miracle TD gave Steelers playoff win," 14 Jan. 2018 Halili’s bodyguards opened fire toward a grassy hill where the gunshot was apparently fired, adding to the bedlam, Alcazar said by phone. Washington Post, "Philippine city mayor gunned down during flag-raising event," 2 July 2018 The Cup rolled down the avenue in a bubble of sustained bedlam. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Washington celebrates the Capitals first Stanley Cup with a victory parade and rally," 12 June 2018 One of my readers did a little detective work, and deduced exactly where the bedlam bungalow is, possibly due to its proximity to the roof cow. Kevin Fisher-paulson,, "Cops and copy editors keeping things orderly," 25 June 2018 Try a different warehouse The rest of the film is predictable bedlam, with every scene feeling like a rehash of prior films' special effects—only with more familiar stuff on screen at once. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review: This nonsense has gone full Sharknado," 22 June 2018 Few predicted last year’s bedlam, even after the practice sessions. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar Texas preview: Why more mayhem could be on tap, and Will Power could win," 7 June 2018 When three or more salmon are buttoned at once, the scene can turn into absolute bedlam. Tom Stienstra,, "Salmon opener brings mysteries, chance of mayhem," 10 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near bedlam

bed joint


bed ladder




bed lathe

Statistics for bedlam

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bedlam

The first known use of bedlam was in 1522

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More Definitions for bedlam



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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More from Merriam-Webster on bedlam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bedlam

Spanish Central: Translation of bedlam

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

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showing courage and determination

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