Bedlam \BED-luhm\ , noun;
1. A scene or state of wild uproar and confusion
Bedlam is first attested in the 1660's and comes from a colloquial pronunciation of 'Bethlehem' in 'Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem.' The London hospital was founded in 1247 as a priory, turned into a hospital around 1330 and was a lunatic hospital by 1402. In 1547 it was converted to a state lunatic asylum after the dissolution of the associated monasteries.
A priory is a house for women or men under religious vows that's run by a prior or prioress. Prior is a Latin word meaning "former, superior," which derives from Old Latin pri ("before") from Proto-Indo-European *per ("beyond") and *pro- ("before"). Prioress derives from Middle Latin prioressa, which evolved in the mid-12th century.
Today's word and the first definition were both taken from Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, July 2
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or Etymonline.com