mad·ness | \ˈmad-nəs \

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

c : ecstasy, enthusiasm

d : intense anger : rage

2 : any of several ailments of animals marked by frenzied behavior specifically : rabies

Keep scrolling for more

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!
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

While deals can't officially be consummated until July 6, the madness has already gotten underway and will only ramp up on Saturday night. Ben Ladner,, "2018 NBA Free Agency: Live Blog," 29 June 2018 Even in the dotcom madness at the end of 1999, Exxon, retailer Walmart and industrial conglomerate General Electric remained among the five biggest. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Behemoths Have Dominated the Market Before, but Tech Is Different," 14 June 2018 And Miley can't stop, won't stop there — check out all this St. Paddy's Day madness: Not to be outdone by his significant other, Liam came correct with the Jolly Green Giant-edness of it all. Laura Beck, Cosmopolitan, "Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Had the MOST Insane St. Patrick's Day Party Ever," 18 Mar. 2018 The decade-long journey that included neglect, abuse, drugs, near-madness, alienation, dislocation, fanatical faith, escapes through jungles and deserts, and some high adventure now took root on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. Paul Theroux, Smithsonian, "The Epic Quest to Ride the World’s Biggest Wave," 27 June 2018 Argentina looked to be in cruise control - until a moment of madness in the second half saw them throw their lead away, and quite possibly their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages with it., "Nigeria 1-2 Argentina: Late Show By Rojo Sees La Albiceleste Sneak Into Knockout Stages of World Cup," 26 June 2018 Thanks to cryptocurrency madness, great deals on graphics cards are hard to come by. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Go grab the GTX 1080 Mini for $500 at Amazon before the price shoots back up," 21 June 2018 Met Gala madness, Olivier Rousteing went straight to work on jumpsuits, tuxedo jackets, and gowns for the women of My Profession Is Not Black, after being personally contacted by his friend Maïga. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "My Profession Is Not Black," 16 May 2018 The other big problem with Washington’s performance is that there’s no madness in him. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, "Eugene O’Neill’s Unhappy Hour," 30 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of madness

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about madness

Dictionary Entries near madness


mad money




Madonna lily


Phrases Related to madness

(a) method in/to one's madness

Statistics for madness

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for madness

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for madness


mad·ness | \ˈmad-nəs \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

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

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!