Definition of bedlam in English:


Line breaks: bed¦lam
Pronunciation: /ˈbɛdləm


  • 2 archaic An institution for the care of mentally ill people.
    More example sentences
    • Once, people were shut up in bedlams - usually indefinitely and in terrible conditions.
    • Soviet dissidents were political heretics, and though they did not burn on the stake, they were sent to bedlams for their sins.
    • They have been consulting on what to do with those who have severe personality disorders and they seem set to turn back the clock a century by locking them up in Bedlams and throwing away the key.


late Middle English: early form of Bethlehem, referring to the hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem in London, used as an institution for the insane.

More definitions of bedlam

Definition of bedlam in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
a slit made by cutting with a saw