mad·​der | \ ˈma-dər How to pronounce madder (audio) \

Definition of madder

1 : a Eurasian herb (Rubia tinctorum of the family Rubiaceae, the madder family) with whorled leaves and small yellowish panicled flowers succeeded by dark berries broadly : any of several related herbs (genus Rubia)
2a : the root of the Eurasian madder used formerly in dyeing also : an alizarin dye prepared from it
b : a moderate to strong red

Illustration of madder

Illustration of madder

madder 1

Examples of madder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Inside, the walls of the main room are painted in the madder reds of a monk’s robes. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Your Next Trip to Nepal, Rent the House Sir Edmund Hillary Loved," 20 Dec. 2018 Fair point, though certainly Callahan would’ve been madder in defeat than victory. Alex Prewitt,, "A Game of Oddities: Tampa Bay's Game 4 Win Over Boston Featured Several Puzzling Moments," 5 May 2018 Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images The only thing madder than a down-to-the-wire upset by the tournament’s internationally beloved team was another thrilling upset in the next game. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Loyola-Chicago Is No Longer the Underdog," 23 Mar. 2018 Names like toluidine toner, byaku gunjo, madder lake, maple soot, and dragon’s blood (speaking of Hogwarts) are as beautiful as the pigments that bear them. Mark Feeney,, "Coloring our world, from cave paintings to today," 15 Mar. 2018 The vibrant purple of the woman’s robe, for example, was created with madder lake, a natural pigment that was widely used to dye textiles. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "How 21st-Century Technology Is Shedding Light on a 2nd-Century Egyptian Painting," 26 Dec. 2017 Over the centuries, popular plants used for dyes included indigo, madder and saffron. Kim Cook, The Denver Post, "Planting a natural dye garden can be easy and inexpensive," 26 May 2017 And the national attention focused on him in the wake of killing Booth drove him madder still. J. D. Daniels, Esquire, "The Rollicking 2,000-Mile Route to America's Psychotic Core," 4 May 2017

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

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First Known Use of madder

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for madder

Middle English, from Old English mædere; akin to Old High German matara madder

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Time Traveler for madder

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The first known use of madder was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Madder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for madder


mad·​der | \ ˈmad-ər How to pronounce madder (audio) \

Medical Definition of madder

1 : a Eurasian herb (Rubia tinctorum of the family Rubiaceae, the madder family) with whorled leaves, clusters of small yellowish flowers, and red to black berries broadly : any of several related herbs (genus Rubia)
2 : the root of the Eurasian madder formerly used in dyeing also : an alizarin dye prepared from it

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More from Merriam-Webster on madder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with madder

Nglish: Translation of madder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of madder for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about madder

Comments on madder

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


easily led, controlled, or managed

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