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

Marley, who just turned 20 earlier this month, told explained that there's no real method to the madness of getting ready for a big event such as Dior's at the Guggenheim. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selah Marley Plays Dress Up with Dior," 15 Nov. 2018 April of Arike Take one last look back at the madness of Arike Ogunbowale, including her place on the cover of Sports Illustrated, videos of her behind-the-scenes reaction and, of course, video of the buzzer beaters themselves. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Play by Play Newsletter: The weather is miserable, both outdoors and underneath my faulty kitchen sink," 6 Apr. 2018 Junior forward Chris White acknowledged there's a method to Taylor's madness. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Marian Catholic's Mike Taylor named the Daily Southtown Boys Basketball Coach of the Year," 31 Mar. 2018 As always, shout-out to sound engineer Brett Fuchs, who makes sense of our madness. Brad Rickman, Condé Nast Traveler, "It's Hurricane Season. Time to Plan Your Trip to the Caribbean: Travelogue Podcast," 7 Sep. 2018 Talk of their courage and their madness is a near constant for the day. Ben Lowy, Smithsonian, "The Lionfish Have Invaded, But a Ragtag Army of Divers and Chefs Are Fighting Back," 23 May 2018 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the host of the Laugh Track column, a man who is lost in the madness ... Michael K. Mcintyre,, "Perry's own Tammy Pescatelli comes back home to tape her 'Way After School Special'," 15 Mar. 2018 Pecola’s story is about a despair that descends into madness. Toby Zinman,, "'Bluest Eye' at the Arden: Race, rage, and a descent into madness," 11 Mar. 2018 Rappers' Real Names After one Twitter user joked that Ice Cube's real name was Icelandic Cubicle, madness ensued as other rap fans followed suit, Complex points out. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "22 Memes That Made 2018 Less Horrible," 17 Dec. 2018

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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Learn More about madness

Dictionary Entries near madness


mad money




Madonna lily


Statistics for madness

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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