snake pit
noun Date: 1946 1. a hospital for mental diseases 2. a place or state of chaotic disorder and distress

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Snake pit — Snake pits were a historical European means of imposing capital punishment. Convicts were cast into a deep pit containing venomous snakes, such as vipers. They died from snake venom poisoning as the irritated snakes attacked them. An example of… …   Wikipedia

  • snake pit — snake′ pit or snake′pit n. 1) a mental hospital marked by squalor and inhumane or indifferent care for the patients 2) an intensely chaotic or disagreeable place or situation • Etymology: after a novel with the same title (1946) by Mary Jane Ward …   From formal English to slang

  • snake pit — n. 1. a pit where snakes are kept ☆ 2. Informal a place of horror and confusion, as a crowded mental hospital where patients are improperly cared for …   English World dictionary

  • snake-pit — snakeˈ pit noun (figurative) 1. A mental hospital 2. A place, or circumstances, characterized by disordered emotions and relationships • • • Main Entry: ↑snake …   Useful english dictionary

  • snake pit — noun 1. pejorative terms for an insane asylum • Syn: ↑Bedlam, ↑booby hatch, ↑crazy house, ↑cuckoo s nest, ↑funny farm, ↑funny house, ↑loony bin, ↑madhouse, ↑nut ho …   Useful english dictionary

  • snake pit —    a mental hospital    Probably from one of the common delusions of the mentally ill, but also a place where the sane hope not to find themselves:     The old man was always threatening to stash her away in a snake pit. (Macdonald, 1971)    The… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • snake pit — /ˈsneɪk pɪt/ (say snayk pit) noun 1. a pit containing venomous snakes, especially as used as a means of torture or execution. 2. Military Colloquial a sergeant s mess. Also, snake pen …   Australian English dictionary

  • snake pit — Informal. 1. a mental hospital marked by squalor and inhumane or indifferent care for the patients. 2. an intensely chaotic or disagreeable place or situation. Also, snakepit. [1945 50] * * * …   Universalium

  • snake pit — Synonyms and related words: Chinese puzzle, Gordian knot, Rube Goldberg contraption, can of worms, complex, jungle, knot, labyrinth, maze, meander, mesh, mess, perplex, ravel, snafu, snarl, tangle, tangled skein, webwork, wheels within wheels,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • snake pit — (nickname for) insane asylum known for its harsh and inhumane treatment of its patients; place known for its terrible human relations, unpleasant place to be …   English contemporary dictionary

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