mad·​wom·​an ˈmad-ˌwu̇-mən How to pronounce madwoman (audio)
: a woman who is or acts as if insane

Examples of madwoman in a Sentence

She is a madwoman on the dance floor.
Recent Examples on the Web Steeped in fascinating tidbits about her life, Swift recounts how Harkness, who inherited the riches from her oil tycoon husband’s untimely death and even became the richest woman in America at one point, was considered an outcast and a madwoman for her unconventional choices and lavish lifestyle. Samantha Cooney, TIME, 16 Apr. 2024 Though the role of the madwoman has long been central to the operatic imagination, the conditions and attitudes faced by Nellie Bly — dismissal, doubt, bias and abuse — remain pervasive realities for woman confronting trauma today. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2023 Emphasizing the urgent need for safe havens helped paint a dark portrait of a country in moral decline, where madwomen emerge from the attic and Medea crosses the border to the United States. Maria Laurino, The New Republic, 29 June 2023 No madwoman, no machines, nothing but just straight hooker. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 May 2023 Emma Thompson won an Oscar for adapting Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and danced like a madwoman at the Adele concert in London. Vulture, 2 Jan. 2022 For real, though, was Galadriel supposed to be a genocidal madwoman and a Sauron-enabling sap? Darren Franich,, 18 Oct. 2022 Bapu refers to herself as a madwoman or a lunatic more than a dozen times in her journals, but only sometimes with despair. Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, 13 Sep. 2022 Faye Dunaway plays screen legend Joan Crawford as a wire hanger-wielding madwoman in this campy 1981 bio-drama based on the scandalous tell-all by Crawford’s adopted daughter Christina. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of madwoman was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near madwoman

Cite this Entry

“Madwoman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mad·​wom·​an ˈmad-ˌwu̇m-ən How to pronounce madwoman (audio)
: a woman who is or who acts as if mentally unsound
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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