snake pit

snake pit
noun
1. pejorative terms for an insane asylum
Syn:
Hypernyms:
2. any place of pain and turmoil
-

the hell of battle

-

the inferno of the engine room

-

when you're alone Christmas is the pits

Syn: ↑hell, ↑hell on earth, ↑hellhole, ↑the pits, ↑inferno
Derivationally related forms: ↑infernal (for: ↑inferno)
Hypernyms: ↑region, ↑part

* * *

noun
1. : a hospital for mental diseases
2. : a place of chaotic disorder and distress

the snake pit of her alcoholism — John Barkham

* * *

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]

* * *

snake pit,
1. a pit filled with snakes.
2. Informal. a backward or overcrowded mental institution, prison, or other such facility, especially one where outmoded theories and practices are perpetuated.
3. Figurative. any frightening or oppressive place or condition: »

It's difficult to orient one's way in the snake pit we're living in (Arthur Miller).

* * *

n. a pit containing poisonous snakes
figurative a scene of vicious behavior or ruthless competition

the literary snake pits of New York

figurative a place of overcrowded squalor, esp. a poorly run mental hospital

the clinic opened in 1949, when most drug and alcohol sanitariums were still snake pits

Origin:
1946: from the title of a novel by Mary Jane Ward

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • 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 — 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

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  • 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 …  

  • snake pit — noun Date: 1946 1. a hospital for mental diseases 2. a place or state of chaotic disorder and distress …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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