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Bedlam” — (n) A place of uncontrollable confusion and uproar.

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The beginning of this word goes back 750+ years.

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For MORE use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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Let’s use numbers.

   (1)  In AD 1247, the Priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem was established in London.

   (2)  In AD 1547, the building was given to the city by Henry VIII as a hospital called Bethlem, and was used to house the mentally unstable and insane.

   (3)  Later still, the asylum was transferred to Moorfields (which is now the Imperial War Museum) and, once it had become established there, became a popular tourist attraction. Incredibly, the governors charged admission for tickets, enabling the public to witness the bizarre behavior of the inmates, and in many cases even encouraged visitors to goad them on. The asylum became known as “bedlam” and the word associated with human degradation and the public’s inhumane indifference to it.

   (4)  Today it exists as the Bethlehem Royal Hospital in Kent England.

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   [This post relies heavily upon Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day by Albert Jack (a Perigee Book, 2007)]