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method in one's madness

An underlying purpose in crazy behavior, as in Harry takes seemingly random trips around the country but there's method to his madness—he's checking on real estate values. This expression comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet (2:2): “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.” For a modern equivalent, see crazy like a fox.

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