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

And the fact that our writer was a woman willing to wander into the madness made the piece even bolder. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Weirdest Stories We've Ever Told," 4 June 2019 And then there’s Daenerys, who built up an entire army only to suddenly descend into total madness, using Drogon to burn everything down at King’s Landing in episode 5. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Why the Women of Game of Thrones Deserved Better," 20 May 2019 Between the Archie's prison fight club, Jughead's potentially poison-laced Gryfons & Gargoyles initiation, and all of the Farm madness (which may or may not be connected to G+G??), things were pretty bleak in Riverdale on Wednesday. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Including Jughead's dark suit, which may be hiding a sinister message.," 26 Oct. 2018 Then, children wake up and it’s madness and chaos trying to get them breakfast and get them out of the door to school, get myself ready, and go to work. Susannah Hutcheson, USA TODAY, "Chic Media founder Rachel Hollis: How I became a motivational powerhouse for women," 3 July 2018 Lynch’s America is dream-like, uncanny, full of mystery, full of madness, ever-askew. Tyler Malone,, "David Lynch's memoir-slash-biography is, yes, strange — and deeply American," 20 June 2018 But madness, of a kind, is exactly what Hereditary is after. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Hereditary is the terrifying arthouse horror film of the year," 1 June 2018 Sister says East Area Rapist suspect never displayed 'madness' Relative's DNA from genealogy websites cracked East Area Rapist case, DA's office says Yolo considers rape charges against East Area Rapist. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "East Area Rapist, the case that haunted a prosecutor – until now," 27 Apr. 2018 Torres-Garner Landrum, and Newman bring their own dangerous, overtorqued energy to their roles, while Torres and Berkshire are upsettingly at ease amid the madness, comfortable in their skins where the others struggle not to explode., "'Between Riverside and Crazy' looks at the cruel cost of moving on," 12 Mar. 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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Dictionary Entries near madness


mad money




Madonna lily


Statistics for madness

Last Updated

11 Jun 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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