[ mad-ruh s, muh-dras, -drahs ]
/ ˈmæd rəs, məˈdræs, -ˈdrɑs /


a light cotton fabric of various weaves, especially one in multicolored plaid or stripes, used for shirts, dresses, jackets, etc.
a thin curtain fabric of a light, gauzelike weave with figures of heavier yarns.
a large, brightly colored kerchief, of silk or cotton, often used for turbans.


made of or resembling madras.

Nearby words

  1. madness,
  2. madoera,
  3. madonna,
  4. madonna and child,
  5. madonna lily,
  6. madras states,
  7. madrasah,
  8. madre,
  9. madre de dios,
  10. madrepore

Origin of madras

First recorded in 1825–35; named after Madras


[ muh-dras, -drahs ]
/ məˈdræs, -ˈdrɑs /


former name of Chennai
former name of Tamil Nadu. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madras

British Dictionary definitions for madras


/ (ˈmædrəs, məˈdræs, -ˈdrɑːs) /


  1. a strong fine cotton or silk fabric, usually with a woven stripe
  2. (as modifier)madras cotton
something made of this, esp a scarf
a medium-hot currychicken madras

Word Origin for madras

C19: by association with the Madras area


/ (məˈdrɑːs, -ˈdræs) /


the former official name of Chennai
the former name (until 1968) for the state of Tamil Nadu
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 madras



1833, in reference to the former Indian state of Madras (modern Chennai, a Tamil name), from which this type of bright-colored muslin cloth was exported. The British fort there dates from 1639; the name sometimes is said to be from Sanskrit mandra, a god of the underworld, but perhaps rather from Arabic madrasa "school" or Portuguese Madre (de Deus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper