mad·​house | \ ˈmad-ˌhau̇s How to pronounce madhouse (audio) \

Definition of madhouse

1 informal + now often offensive : an institution providing care to mentally ill individuals
2 informal : a place of uproar or confusion The day of the game against the U.S.S.R., Blythe Arena was a madhouse. Thousands milled about outside, hoping to find a way in.— Walter Bingham

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for madhouse


asylum, bedlam, institution

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of madhouse in a Sentence

The stadium was a madhouse when the team won the championship. it was hard to believe that this place with the bright cheery walls was really a madhouse

Recent Examples on the Web

In January of this year, at the annual multithousand-square-foot madhouse of consumer electronics in Las Vegas, manufacturers started slipping a new claim into their spec sheets: Supports Wi-Fi 6. Wired, "Wi-Fi 6 Will Be Here Soon. What Is It?," 29 Aug. 2019 Williamson’s presence turned these tiny gyms into madhouses packed both by fans who wanted to catch a glimpse and a who’s who of college coaches. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "There Has Never Been a Basketball Player Like Duke’s Zion Williamson," 5 Nov. 2018 Grand Teton National Park and Denali National Park, both coveted climbing destinations, use this kind of process to keep their mountains from becoming madhouses. Mark Jenkins, Outside Online, "How to Fix Everest," 20 June 2019 Ruth Ann served nearly three years in the madhouse at Kankakee and, released to the care of family, lived uneventfully on Chicago’s North Side, turning away all queries till her death in 2012. Benjamin Taylor, Harper's magazine, "Exit Ghost," 10 Mar. 2019 This success garnered him an opportunity to replace Raymond Domenech as overseer of the madhouse that was the French national team in 2010., "Why Laurent Blanc is the Worst Possible Managerial Choice for Chelsea in 2018," 8 June 2018 Certainly the Trulieve dispensary tucked away among the warehouses and rental car lots across from the Miami airport seems to be operating like a normal and reasonably efficient business, not a Cheech-and-Chong madhouse. Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "As marijuana dispensaries open their doors, Florida registers 5,400 new users per week," 1 June 2018 That would perhaps bode poorly for his chances in the 170,000-person madhouse that is Churchill Downs on Derby day. Childs Walker,, "Justify looks to prove talent trumps curses in Kentucky Derby," 4 May 2018 In the moments after a president gives the State of the Union, Statuary Hall becomes a carnivalesque madhouse. Nash Jenkins, Time, "'Tonight We Got Teleprompter Trump.' Democrats Seethe After State of the Union," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'madhouse.' 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 madhouse

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about madhouse

Dictionary Entries near madhouse






Madhya Bharat


Statistics for madhouse

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for madhouse

The first known use of madhouse was in 1649

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for madhouse



English Language Learners Definition of madhouse

old-fashioned + offensive : a hospital for people who are mentally ill
informal : a place where there is a lot of excitement or confusion


mad·​house | \ ˈmad-ˌhau̇s How to pronounce madhouse (audio) \

Kids Definition of madhouse

: a place or scene of complete confusion or noisy excitement

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on madhouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with madhouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for madhouse

Spanish Central: Translation of madhouse

Nglish: Translation of madhouse for Spanish Speakers

Comments on madhouse

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



Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!