Definition of bear garden in English:

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bear garden

Pronunciation: /ˈbɛː ɡɑːd(ə)n/
(also bear pit)


A scene of uproar and confusion: he appeared at the bear garden of a conference
More example sentences
  • Over the years, I have watched ‘New’ Labour whizzkids turn conference from a passionate bear pit, which party leaders sometimes ignored at their peril, to an impotent parade of the on message.
  • We will next week see less of a British party conference and more like a US-style Blackpool caucus - a bear pit where candidates will be heckled and sized up by constituency chairman who will report their thoughts back to party members.
  • This year's Labour conference will be a walkover rather than a bear pit.


Late 16th century: bear from bear2. The original sense was 'a place set apart for bear-baiting'; bear gardens were often used for other rough sports, hence the figurative meaning.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bear gar¦den

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