bedlam

(redirected from bedlams)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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]

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.

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.

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Inmates of Bedlam who were not dangerous were kept in the 'Abraham Ward' and occasionally allowed out in distinctive dress and permitted to beg.
She roar'd like a Bedlam" (Swift); "Plaine bedlam stuffe" (Milton) (SOED);
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?
Bedlam patients seem to have formed a category of their own, whose special character was determined by the realities of this concrete asylum.