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 The last time the Toronto Raptors visited the AT&T Center, bedlam ensued. Jeff Mcdonald,, "San Antonio Spurs face new challenge in healthy, motivated Toronto Raptors," 25 Jan. 2020 While the Etihad Stadium descended into bedlam, Wright-Phillips and his QPR teammates sank to the floor unsure of whether their future in the Premier League was secured -- they were saved by Bolton's draw with Stoke City. Ben Morse And Don Riddell, CNN, "How Shaun Wright-Phillips wanted both teams to win when Manchester City won the Premier League," 4 Dec. 2019 Just don’t forget that the bar is rather high for any summer to go down as an all-timer, thanks to the N.B.A.’s reputation for transactional bedlam. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, "Helicopters, Cap Spikes and the Decision: The N.B.A.’s Wildest Off-Seasons," 29 June 2019 Shabazz Napier’s signature shot, beating Florida and unleashing bedlam at Gampel Pavilion, came on Dec. 2, 2013. Dom Amore,, "Reliving the Shabazz Napier buzz beater over Florida six years later as UConn preps to face Gators Sunday," 16 Nov. 2019 Adjustments were made, and the San Francisco airport bedlam passed., "I walked to all four Logan terminals from central parking, where app ride vehicles — that’s the fancy way of saying Uber and Lyft — will be required to drop off and pick up travelers starting later this month when Logan begins banning curbside drop-offs.," 17 Oct. 2019 Yet European diplomats can also see that the political bedlam in the U.K. lends itself to delay without decisions. Washington Post, "Brexit Can Get Much More Toxic From Here," 26 Sep. 2019 Essentially, three things could happen, and each scenario leads to bedlam in London. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "Boris Johnson is out of Brexit ideas," 10 Sep. 2019 Obamacare plans are turning a profit in 2019, and certain insurers are continuing to double down on them in spite of said political bedlam. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Obamacare Plans Are Turning a Profit: Brainstorm Health," 22 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for bedlam

Time Traveler

The first known use of bedlam was in 1522

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Statistics for bedlam

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bedlam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bedlam


How to pronounce bedlam (audio)

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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