bedlam

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bed·lam

(bed'lăm),
1. Pejorative colloquialism for a mental hospital or institution.
2. A place or scene of wild or riotous behavior.
3. A disturbing uproar.
[corruption or contraction of St. Mary of Bethlehem Hospital in London]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

bedlam

noun A riotous disturbance by one or more mentally volatile individuals.

Medspeak-UK
Bedlam. A popular name for Bethlem Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in London.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

bedlam

[From Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, pronounced “bedlem” in Middle English.]
1. An asylum for the insane.
2. Any place or situation characterized by a noisy uproar.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

bedlam

The slang term for the Bethlehem Royal Hospital in London, the first psychiatric hospital, founded around 1400. Visits to observe the noisy madmen became a popular entertainment and the term soon came to be used for any uproar. The site of Bedlam was moved several times and it is now associated with the Maudsley Hospital.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The following lines illustrate the new metonymically extended usage of 'bedlam':
"She roar'd like a Bedlam" (Swift); "Plaine bedlam stuffe" (Milton) (SOED);
"Let's follow the old earl, and get the bedlam/To lead him where he would ..." (King Lear III, 7, 103); "The country gives me proof and precedent/Of bedlam beggars who with roaring voices/Strike in their numb'd and mortify'd bare arms/Pins, wooden pricks" (Shakespeare) (DEL); "art thou bedlam?" (Henry V, V, 1, 20), "the bedlam brainsick duchess" (second part of Henry VI, III, 1, 51), "a bedlam and ambitious humour" (second part of Henry VI, V, 1, 132) (SL).
The latter consisted in the employment of the internal formative process of derivation, which produced a lexical change in the form of another term for "an inhabitant of Bedlam; a madman", namely, 'bedlamite' (bedlam + -ite "forming names denoting natives of a country", here, of a place (NODE)).
Bedlam patients seem to have formed a category of their own, whose special character was determined by the realities of this concrete asylum.