[ mad-nis ]
See synonyms for madness on
  1. the state of being mad; insanity.

  2. senseless folly: It is sheer madness to speak as you do.

  1. frenzy; rage.

  2. intense excitement or enthusiasm.

Origin of madness

First recorded in 1350–1400, madness is from the Middle English word madnesse.See mad, -ness

Other words from madness

  • pre·mad·ness, noun

Words Nearby madness Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use madness in a sentence

  • They joined in bands of youths and maidens and whirled down the Avenue in Bacchic madness.

  • The hotel-keepers thought I was the American tourist overtaken by that final madness they had always anticipated.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • Cards, however, I regard as a passing madness; it merely means that even yet we have not enough to do.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • But Jack was at that day a reckless fellow, and he lived to be passionately sorry for his splenetic madness.

    The Chequers | James Runciman
  • Even her father's well-known madness for things of art could scarcely atone to his child for this indignity.

    The Dragon Painter | Mary McNeil Fenollosa

British Dictionary definitions for madness


/ (ˈmædnɪs) /

  1. insanity; lunacy

  2. extreme anger, excitement, or foolishness

  1. a nontechnical word for rabies

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with madness


see method in one's madness.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.