[ mad-er ]
/ ˈmæd ər /


any plant of the genus Rubia, especially the climbing R. tinctorum, of Europe, having open clusters of small, yellowish flowers.Compare madder family.
the root of this plant, formerly used in dyeing.
the dye or coloring matter itself.
a color produced by such a dye.

Nearby words

  1. madcap,
  2. madd,
  3. madden,
  4. maddening,
  5. maddeningly,
  6. madder family,
  7. madder lake,
  8. maddest,
  9. madding,
  10. maddish

Origin of madder

before 1000; Middle English mad(d)er, Old English mæd(e)re; cognate with Old Norse mathra, Old High German matara


[ mad-er ]
/ ˈmæd ər /


comparative of mad.
Can be confusedmadder matter

Origin of mad

before 900; Middle English mad (adj.), madden (intransitive v., derivative of the adj.); Old English gemǣd(e)d, past participle of *gemǣdan to make mad, akin to gemād mad, foolish; cognate with Old Saxon gemēd, Old High German gimeit foolish

1. lunatic, maniacal, crazed, crazy. 2. furious, exasperated, raging, wrathful, irate. 4. ill-advised; unsafe, dangerous, perilous. Mad, crazy, insane are used to characterize wildly impractical or foolish ideas, actions, etc. Mad suggests senselessness and excess: The scheme of buying the bridge was absolutely mad. In informal usage, crazy suggests recklessness and impracticality: a crazy young couple. Insane is used with some opprobrium to express unsoundness and possible harmfulness: The new traffic system is simply insane. 5. frenzied.


Related forms

Usage note

Mad meaning “enraged, angry” has been used since 1300, and this sense is a very common one. Because some teachers and usage critics insist that the only correct meaning of mad is “mentally disturbed, insane,” mad is often replaced by angry in formal contexts: The president is angry at Congress for overriding his veto. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madder

British Dictionary definitions for madder


/ (ˈmædə) /


any of several rubiaceous plants of the genus Rubia, esp the Eurasian R. tinctoria, which has small yellow flowers and a red fleshy root
the root of this plant
a dark reddish-purple dye formerly obtained by fermentation of this root; identical to the synthetic dye, alizarin
a red lake obtained from alizarin and an inorganic base; used as a pigment in inks and paints

Word Origin for madder

Old English mædere; related to Middle Dutch mēde, Old Norse mathra


the comparative of mad


/ (mæd) /

n acronym for US

mutual assured destruction: a theory of nuclear deterrence whereby each side in a conflict has the capacity to destroy the other in retaliation for a nuclear attack


/ (mæd) /

adjective madder or maddest

verb mads, madding or madded

archaic to make or become mad; act or cause to act as if mad
Derived Formsmaddish, adjective

Word Origin for mad

Old English gemǣded, past participle of gemǣdan to render insane; related to gemād insane, and to Old High German gimeit silly, crazy, Old Norse meitha to hurt, damage

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 madder
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for madder


[ măd ]


Angry; resentful.
Suffering from a disorder of the mind; insane.
Affected by rabies; rabid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with madder


In addition to the idioms beginning with mad

  • mad about
  • mad as a hatter
  • mad as a hornet
  • made for each other
  • made of money
  • made to measure
  • made to order
  • mad rush

also see:

  • crazy (mad) about
  • drive someone crazy (mad)
  • hopping mad
  • like crazy (mad)
  • stark raving mad
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.