Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


see Bethlem Royal HospitalBethlem Royal Hospital
, the oldest institution for the care and confinement of the mentally ill in England, and one of the oldest in Europe. A priory in 1247, the building was converted to its later usage c.1400.
..... Click the link for more information.


from Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, former English insane asylum. [Br. Folklore: Jobes, 193]


(Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem) first asylum for the insane in England; noted for brutal treatment of its patients. [Br. Hist.: EB, I: 924]
See: Madness


Archaic a lunatic asylum; madhouse
References in periodicals archive ?
With visitors - "persons of quality" - crowding in for the peep show, Bedlam became for satirists "a mirror of madness" reflecting the state of society around it.
Bedlam, the game, is still in development but should be available towards the end of 2013.
Now, with Bedlam up and running, he's got new sit-com Sex And The Chippy in production in Liverpool.
Such process is in place on "The Bedlam in Goliath," a record with explosive bookends titled "Aberinkula" and "Conjugal Burns.
On the comic side, the medieval morality play Mankynd has a precursor for Diccon the Bedlam in Titivillus.
Inmates of Bedlam who were not dangerous were kept in the 'Abraham Ward' and occasionally allowed out in distinctive dress and permitted to beg.
While his latest literary efforts have been entertaining and fun to read, they don't quite deliver the powerful and cogent messages of family, love and emotional bedlam as his prior works.
Even if bedlam and debauchery isn't your cup of tea, it's got to at least get the wheels of wonder turning: What does one have to do to deserve being booted from an entire country?
After one particularly unnerving liturgy, during which bedlam reigned and fights broke out, Uncle Tom removed his vestments in record time and commanded his young servers: "Let's get the hell out of here
With the rock fans clamoring for the ordination of Elvis, the African Anglicans mulling over whether to send missionaries to England, an Australian ex-bishop at the center of a sex abuse scandal, Episcopal Bishop John Spong preaching that everything in the church is so much clap-trap, and the Canadian church hierarchy agonizing over whether there's enough room on the head of the Anglican pin for both straights and gays, there's so much bedlam going on that no one seems to notice that thousands of confused Anglicans are looking for a new pew in which to pray.
It told the dramatic story of Martha Thompson, who was incarcerated in the dreaded Bedlam lunatic asylum after her conversion.
Bethlem, then, was not Bedlam, even though assumed connections between the institution and the metaphor persist and darken its image into the modern period.