mad·​ness | \ ˈmad-nəs How to pronounce madness (audio) \

Definition of madness

1 : the quality or state of being mad: such as
a : a state of severe mental illness not used technically … fortifications against an inner darkness, the threat of madness that crouched above him throughout his life.— Robert F. Moss
b : behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous : extreme folly an idea that is pure/sheer madness
d : intense anger : rage
2 : any of several ailments of animals marked by frenzied behavior specifically : rabies

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Synonyms & Antonyms for madness


aberration, dementia, derangement, insanity, lunacy, mania, rage [archaic]


mind, saneness, sanity

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Examples of madness in a Sentence

He suffered a series of tragedies that nearly drove him to madness. Her friends told her the idea was pure madness, but she went through with it anyway. It was the height of madness for him to drive at such high speeds!
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Recent Examples on the Web

Udinese were under pressure, but coping nicely until De Paul's moment of madness midway through the first half., "Inter 1-0 Udinese: Report, Ratings & Reaction as I Nerazzurri Hold Out for Tense Win at San Siro," 14 Sep. 2019 The situation has driven her to the edge of madness. Arwa Damon And Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "A forgotten camp in Syria could be the birthplace of ISIS' revenge generation," 12 Sep. 2019 Also the trailer is filled with famous faces like Miley Cyrus and Anthony Mackie, and gives us a good look into the madness of the season's three episodes. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Black Mirror' Channels Some Inner 'Street Fighter' for Season 5," 15 May 2019 The loving wife of a blue-collar boss somehow crosses the line from quirkiness to madness. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 Is there a method to the madness or is something wrong? Brian Stelter, CNN, "The hardest Trump story for the press to cover: His fitness for the job," 25 Aug. 2019 Today’s topics include: the need to get rid of the Orioles; Aristides Aquino, Barry Bonds's clone; Gary Thorne screaming for an end to the madness; and much more. Jon Tayler,, "MLB Should Threaten Tanking Teams With Relegation," 13 Aug. 2019 In the long, lazy days before Alaska’s most bonkers fishery brings bedlam and blood to the beaches of Kenai, one of the state’s least likely and most laid-back fisheries exists as an ephemeral prelude to the madness. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Calm before the storm: Kenai halibut anglers kick back in advance of Alaska’s most frenetic fishery," 19 June 2019 However, the country is already polarized, which could be greatly contributed to the madness of the present executive administration of this country. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Democrat reads letter on House floor calling Trump supporters "racist" and "dumb"," 12 June 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near madness


mad money




Madonna lily


Statistics for madness

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for madness

The first known use of madness was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for madness


mad·​ness | \ ˈmad-nəs How to pronounce madness (audio) \

Medical Definition of madness

1 : a severely disordered state of mind not used technically
2 : any of several ailments of animals marked by frenzied behavior specifically : rabies

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Comments on madness

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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