madness

noun

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

Example Sentences

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!
Recent Examples on the Web This minefield of madness stemmed from the Consumer Product Safety Commission planning to solicit comment on the potential health issues of gas stoves in March this year. Ketan Joshi, The New Republic, 18 Jan. 2023 But Camille Razat, the actress who plays her, talked to us a little bit about what her character might be feeling throughout all of the madness. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 21 Dec. 2022 As her 17-year-old son’s mental health deteriorates, she is pushed to the edge of madness. Martin Dale, Variety, 9 Dec. 2022 When Swift died at seventy-seven, in 1745, dementia was seen less as a medical condition than as an inevitable feature of aging or, in some cases, a kind of madness. Marion Renault, The New Yorker, 23 Nov. 2022 Marvel is getting a brand new character added to its multiverse of madness — at least, for a limited time. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 22 Nov. 2022 West was not only at the center of the storm, but the creator of the madness. Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone, 10 Nov. 2022 Texas is in a prime position to take advantage of all of madness. Dallas News, 19 Aug. 2022 The journey itself, however, under taken on a small, heavily armed river boat is less an exploration of the heart of darkness than of the roots of madness. Arthur Knight, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near madness

Cite this Entry

“Madness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/madness. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition

madness

noun
mad·​ness ˈmad-nəs How to pronounce madness (audio)
1
: a severely disordered state of mind
not used technically
2
: any of several ailments of animals marked by frenzied behavior
specifically : rabies

More from Merriam-Webster on madness

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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