One entry found for bedlam.
Main Entry: bedĚlam
Etymology: from Middle English Bedlem "Bethlehem" : a place or scene of uproar and confusion Word History Around 1402 the home of a religious community in London was turned into a hospital for the insane. This new hospital kept the name of the community and was known as the Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem. People soon shortened this name to Bethlehem. In Middle English, though, the town of Bethlehem in Palestine was called Bedlem or Bethlem, so this was the pronunciation used for the hospital's name. In time the name Bedlem or Bedlam came to refer to any home for the insane. Today we use bedlam for any scene of noise and confusion like that found in the early hospitals for the insane.