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

Synonyms for bedlam


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Somehow, even after the latest bedlam at Yale Law School, the raging students continue to claim the moral high ground, complaining about the mere presence of police at a recent Federalist Society event. Aron Ravin, National Review, 3 Apr. 2022 Several Yale players remained on their sideline to watch the bedlam. Dom Amore,, 20 Nov. 2021 At times, Karl blames this bedlam on the people around Trump rather than the president himself. Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2021 Oklahoma State's bedlam victory over Oklahoma not only earned them a rare victory over their state rivals, but sent a ripple effect in the coaching carousel that's still being felt this week. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 5 Dec. 2021 The court swelled with fans, including Todd Frazier, the former Yankees and Mets third baseman and a Rutgers alumnus, who in the bedlam had to turn back to retrieve his young son. Billy Witz, New York Times, 13 Dec. 2021 The concert organizers canceled this show because of the bedlam, Rolling Stone said. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2021 The way Popovich sees it, the game was not lost in the bedlam of that make-or-break late possession. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Nov. 2021 Chris Taylor’s walk-off, two-run homer off Alex Reyes led to Dodger Stadium bedlam and a ticket to the Division Series. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About bedlam

Dictionary Entries Near bedlam

bed ladder



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bedlam

Last Updated

15 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bedlam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for bedlam


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

Kids Definition of bedlam

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bedlam

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!