ma·​dras ˈma-drəs How to pronounce madras (audio)
: a large silk or cotton kerchief usually of bright colors that is often worn as a turban
: a fine plain-woven shirting and dress fabric usually of cotton with varied designs (such as plaid) in bright colors or in white
: a light open usually cotton fabric with a heavy design used for curtains

Examples of madras in a Sentence

an Indian woman wearing a madras in bright yellow
Recent Examples on the Web Straight teeth and sandy hair, Izod T-shirts and madras skirts and boat shoes. Christian Livermore, Longreads, 11 Oct. 2022 Standalone cotton twill, madras, linen, rayon and poplin are light, airy and breathable—and therefore should be avoided at all costs. Barry Samaha, Robb Report, 5 Jan. 2023 Robbie Kendall was waiting on the steps of the tomb in madras shorts and a light blue polo shirt, his blond hair worn just long enough to suggest surfer without actually looking disreputable. Nick Romano,, 12 Dec. 2022 So the signatures of his brand, honed carefully over the decades, were all there: adorable children and debonair old folks walking in the show, preppy Polo classics like V-neck sweaters and madras pants. Rory Satran, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2022 There is perhaps no greater patchwork proselytizer than Ralph Lauren, who scaled up from scraps to reliably mass-produce tweed and madras iterations with each season. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 10 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'madras.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Madras, India

First Known Use

circa 1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of madras was circa 1838

Dictionary Entries Near madras

Cite this Entry

“Madras.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ma·​dras ˈmad-rəs How to pronounce madras (audio)
: a fine plain-woven fabric usually of cotton with various designs (as plaid)

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ma·​dras mə-ˈdras How to pronounce Madras (audio)
or now officially Chennai city and port on the Bay of Bengal in southern India population 4,646,732
mə-ˈdra-sē How to pronounce Madras (audio)

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