• Noun

pandemonium

pan-duh-MOH-nee-uhm

Context
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Sheer pandemonium and chaos broke out when the third graders noticed that the class boa constrictor was not in its cage. The teacher could not control or lessen the screaming that followed in such disorderly pandemonium. Finally, when the pandemonium and unruly uproar died down, the teacher could finally explain that the boa constrictor was at the vet, not lost in the classroom, and would be back on Tuesday.

Quiz: What is pandemonium?

  • Not knowing what to do in a difficult situation.
  • A chaotic state of pure disorder and utter confusion.
  • A situation caused by something beyond anyone’s control.

Memory Hook
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Demon Panic When the three-horned, red-skinned, and horribly grinning demon walked into the crowded room, all the people were thrown into an immediate panic, which increased into complete pandemonium when another demon appeared through the other door to the room ... and made sure both doors were locked.

Examples
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  • This was one reason why some composers tried to scrap classical forms and explore the alternatives, leading to the dissonant pandemonium of experimental music in the 1950s. —The Economist
  • People arguing and cursing at each other about whether or not families with young children should be allowed to skip to the front of the line, inexperienced and ineffective caucus volunteers — just general pandemonium. —Newsvine
  • International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge in Beijng expressed 'serious concern' about recent unrest in Tibet and 'deeply saddened' by the torch relay pandemonium. —Newsweek
  • The tent is bathed in a pale white glow and cushioned from the pandemonium outside, which makes the effect a bit like the security check-in for heaven. —Los Angeles Times

Word Ingredients
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pan- all
demon spirit, divine power
-um forms a singular Latin noun

Pandemonium originally referred to the home or capital of all the demons or evil spirits that inhabited hell, who were not particularly interested in being calm or law-abiding.

Word Theater
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YouTube: Celebrity TV Shopping pandemonium!
Pandemonium

Word Constellation
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Pandemonium