An image of bedlam caused by a flood.
A flood displacing hundreds of residents is an example of a bedlam.
- an old insane asylum (in full, St. Mary of Bethlehem), later a hospital for the mentally ill, in London
- Archaic any insane asylum
- any place or condition of noise and confusion
Origin of bedlamMiddle English Bedlam, Bethlem, variant, variety of Bethlehem
- A place or situation of noisy uproar and confusion.
- often Bedlam Archaic An insane asylum.
Origin of bedlamMiddle English Bedlem, Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem, an institution in London for the mentally ill .
From Bedlam, alternative name of the English lunatic asylum, Bethlem Royal Hospital (royal hospital from 1375, mental hospital from 1403) (earlier St Mary of Bethlehem outside Bishopsgate, hospice in existence from 1329, priory established 1247), sense used to mean “a place or situation of madness and chaos”. Bedlam as name of hospital attested 1450.