When John Milton needed a name for the gathering place of all demons for Paradise Lost, he turned to the classics as any sensible 17th-century writer would. Pandæmonium, as the capital of Hell is known in the epic poem, combines the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all,” with the Late Latin daemonium, meaning “evil spirit.” (Daemonium itself traces back to the far more innocuous Greek word daímōn, meaning “spirit” or “divine power.”) Over time, Pandæmonium (or Pandemonium) came to designate all of hell and was used as well for earthbound dens of wickedness and sin. By the late-18th century, the word implied a place or state of confusion or uproar, and from there, it didn’t take long for pandemonium to become associated with states of utter disorder and wildness.
Recent Examples on the WebBut Roth’s hair-raising pandemonium has a political resonance.—Armond White, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 But the young-moons story is far from certain — the sheer number of craters many display suggests that the moons have been around to experience the solar system’s pinball-like pandemonium for many an eon.—Quanta Magazine, 2 Nov. 2023 Last season, reports of a shooting at the fair that was eventually ruled a false alarm caused pandemonium the night of Oct. 14.—Isabella Volmert, Dallas News, 15 Aug. 2023 March 26 saw scenes of pandemonium around the globe.—Jeremy White, WIRED, 6 Sep. 2023 Photos captured scenes of pandemonium, confusion and bloodshed.—Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 7 Oct. 2023 Baggage claim was pandemonium — luggage strewn across the floor and carousels, a few employees frantically trying to process new claims.—Mary C. Meyer, STAT, 1 Aug. 2023 The whole scene is vibrant, goofy pandemonium — these are toys fighting each other with toys!—Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2023 The unofficial cinephile holiday on Sunday may have ushered in an unintended consequence: teenage pandemonium.—Cari Spencer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pandemonium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
pan- + Late Latin daemonium "evil spirit," borrowed from Greek daimónion "evil spirit," earlier "divine power, inferior divine being," derivative of daímōn "divinity, divine power, individual destiny" (with -ium probably to be read as Latin -ium or Greek -eion, suffixes of place) — more at demon