Definition of maddening 

1 : tending to craze

2a : tending to infuriate

b : tending to vex : irritating

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from maddening

maddeningly \-lē \ adverb

Examples of maddening in a Sentence

He has a maddening habit of interrupting other people. She shows a maddening inability to control her children.

Recent Examples on the Web

The maddening inconsistency of putting has in recent years spurred the growth of a relatively new kind of specialist role: putting coach. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Even for Jordan Spieth, Putting Is a Fickle Skill," 13 June 2018 That's what made their actual performance all the more maddening. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2017-'18 Milwaukee Bucks team grades," 6 May 2018 Strzok's continuing denials of bias are as incredible and maddening as today's hearing. Fox News, "Rudy Giuliani: Strzok's defense is ridiculous, pathetic," 13 July 2018 The game’s core mechanic is so arbitrary and unfair that a good game of Sorry! quickly devolves into a series of maddening reversals and betrayals. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Sorry! Is the Dumb Children’s Board Game That’s Fun If You Talk a Lot of Trash," 4 July 2018 That makes ending this whole awful episode much more difficult, and Trump's whole posture here even more maddening, for his party — and quite unnecessarily so. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The most stunning part of Trump’s separating-families gambit: He seems to have no real plan," 19 June 2018 Underneath it all, though, some moments will be maddening — even as Walton refuses to show it. Bryce Miller,, "Memo to Luke Walton: Here's comes LeBron ... and all that comes with it," 2 July 2018 Sunday’s play closed with another penalty-kick shootout, the most maddening, frustrating and heart-stopping way for a knockout game to be decided. Kevin Baxter,, "Russia provides another improbable World Cup surprise with elimination of Spain," 1 July 2018 An ideal way to get into a brilliant political mindset for an otherwise maddening election season. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "The 5 Books You Need to Know About This Month," 3 Oct. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maddening.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of maddening

circa 1743, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maddening

Statistics for maddening

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maddening

The first known use of maddening was circa 1743

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for maddening



English Language Learners Definition of maddening

: very annoying


mad·den·ing | \ˈma-dᵊn-iŋ\

Kids Definition of maddening

: very annoying Her constant chatter is maddening.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on maddening

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for maddening

Spanish Central: Translation of maddening

Nglish: Translation of maddening for Spanish Speakers

Comments on maddening

What made you want to look up maddening? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!