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

There are plenty of stories about the bedlam that marked those three days. CBS News, "Woodstock at 50, in the words, and music, of those who were there," 4 Aug. 2019 The plea and sentencing come at a time when the mayor and police chief are still struggling with how to prevent dueling demonstrations from dissolving into bloody bedlam., "Proud Boy member Donovon Flippo gets probation for assault, barred from mass protests in Multnomah County," 19 July 2019 There was a split second of silence, and then, sheer bedlam. Eric He, The Mercury News, "‘It belonged to everybody’ – 20 years later, Brandi Chastain reflects on World Cup title," 5 July 2019 In the long, lazy days before Alaska’s most bonkers fishery brings bedlam and blood to the beaches of Kenai, one of the state’s least likely and most laid-back fisheries exists as an ephemeral prelude to the madness. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Calm before the storm: Kenai halibut anglers kick back in advance of Alaska’s most frenetic fishery," 19 June 2019 The calls grew louder, and all at once a tremendous bedlam broke out—loud, savage yells that raised the hair on the back of my neck. National Geographic, "Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today," 17 Apr. 2019 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

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

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bedlam

The first known use of bedlam was in 1522

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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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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

Comments on bedlam

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recurring in steady succession

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