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

Then end this madness by doing a final wipe-down with a dry towel. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "The Clever Trick That Will Save Your Floors From Salt This Winter," 5 Nov. 2018 Or then again, maybe there’s a message to his madness. John Patrick Pullen, Fortune, "Trump’s Proposed Stewart and Blagojevich Pardons Aren’t About The Apprentice. And They Aren’t Random, Either," 31 May 2018 Not even watching the Super Bowl is an escape from Game of Thrones madness. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Just Recreated That Scene with The Mountain for a Super Bowl Ad," 4 Feb. 2019 The date changes every year, but there actually is a method to the madness: Memorial Day is always held on the last Monday in May. Of course, the day is known for being the unofficial start to summer. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "When Is Memorial Day? Here's What You Need to Know About the Observance," 1 Mar. 2019 As if that wasn’t enough, the Pyrenees are set to add their own twist to the madness the organizers have cooked up. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Stage that Could Decide the Tour de France Is Also Its Shortest," 24 July 2018 Follow along all day as the Arizona Republic brings you to the madness, sightings and fun of summer league. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Summer League live day two: A mad dash kicks off the day," 7 July 2018 Page said while the goal is to have fun, there is a method to the madness for the performers. Marco Santana,, "Ringling Bros. alum set to debut Legoland 'clowning' show," 24 May 2018 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

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

30 Apr 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).


something valued as if it were money

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