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90s Slang You Should Know


[bed-luh m] /ˈbɛd ləm/
a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion.
Archaic. an insane asylum or madhouse.
Origin of bedlam
a popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, which served as a lunatic asylum from circa 1400; compare Middle English Bedleem, Bethleem, Old English Betleem Bethlehem
1. disorder, tumult, chaos, clamor, turmoil, commotion, pandemonium. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for bedlam


a noisy confused place or situation; state of uproar: his speech caused bedlam
(archaic) a lunatic asylum; madhouse
Word Origin
C13 bedlem, bethlem, after the Hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem in London
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bedlam

"scene of mad confusion," 1660s, from colloquial pronunciation of "Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem" in London, founded 1247 as a priory, mentioned as a hospital 1330 and as a lunatic hospital 1402; converted to a state lunatic asylum on dissolution of the monasteries in 1547. It was spelled Bedlem in a will from 1418, and Betleem is recorded as a spelling of Bethlehem in Judea from 971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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