driving to madness or frenzy: a maddening thirst.
infuriating or exasperating: his maddening indifference to my pleas.
raging; furious: a maddening wind.

Origin of maddening

First recorded in 1735–45; madden + -ing2
Related formsmad·den·ing·ly, adverbmad·den·ing·ness, noun



verb (used with object)

to anger or infuriate: The delays maddened her.
to make insane.

verb (used without object)

to become mad; act as if mad; rage.

Origin of madden

First recorded in 1725–35; mad + -en1
Related formsun·mad·dened, adjective

Synonyms for madden

Antonyms for madden Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maddening

Contemporary Examples of maddening

Historical Examples of maddening

  • The maddening interview of this one night has filled my soul with love—but not for thee.

    The Lamplighter

    Charles Dickens

  • This maddening impatience told on my strength, which was small, and hindered me.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • We passed four men, and their greeting was maddening in its jeer.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Which would be maddening for someone with no work to do or no resources in himself, or herself.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Then the maddening cries of the prisoners whose relatives had not come.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for maddening



serving to send mad
extremely annoying; exasperating
Derived Formsmaddeningly, adverbmaddeningness, noun



to make or become mad or angry
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

Word Origin and History for maddening

1743, from present participle of madden. Related: Maddeningly.



"to drive to distraction," 1822; earlier "to be mad" (1735), from mad (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Maddened; maddening. The earlier verb was simply mad (early 14c., intransitive; late 14c., transitive), from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper