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


  1. comparative of mad.

adjective, mad·der, mad·dest.

  1. mentally disturbed; deranged; insane; demented.
  2. enraged; greatly provoked or irritated; angry.
  3. (of animals)
    1. abnormally furious; ferocious: a mad bull.
    2. affected with rabies; rabid: a mad dog.
  4. extremely foolish or unwise; imprudent; irrational: a mad scheme to invade France.
  5. wildly excited or confused; frantic: mad haste.
  6. overcome by desire, eagerness, enthusiasm, etc.; excessively or uncontrollably fond; infatuated: He’s mad about the opera.
  7. wildly lively and merry; enjoyably hilarious: to have a mad time at the Mardi Gras.
  8. (of wind, storms, etc.) furious in violence: A mad gale swept across the channel.


  1. an angry or ill-tempered period, mood, or spell: The last time he had a mad on, it lasted for days.

verb (used with object), mad·ded, mad·ding.

  1. Archaic. to make mad.

verb (used without object), mad·ded, mad·ding.

  1. Archaic. to be, become, or act mad.


  1. like mad, Informal. with great haste, impulsiveness, energy, or enthusiasm: She ran like mad to catch the bus.
  2. mad as a hatter, completely insane.


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


  1. the comparative of mad

n acronym for US

  1. 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

adjective madder or maddest

  1. mentally deranged; insane
  2. senseless; foolisha mad idea
  3. (often foll by at) informal angry; resentful
  4. (foll by about, on, or over; often postpositive) wildly enthusiastic (about) or fond (of)mad about football; football-mad
  5. extremely excited or confused; frantica mad rush
  6. temporarily overpowered by violent reactions, emotions, etcmad with grief
  7. (of animals)
    1. unusually ferociousa mad buffalo
    2. afflicted with rabies
  8. like mad informal with great energy, enthusiasm, or haste; wildly
  9. mad as a hatter crazily eccentric

verb mads, madding or madded

  1. archaic to make or become mad; act or cause to act as if mad

n.type of plant (in modern use Rubia tinctorum) used for making dyes, Old English mædere, from PIE *modhro- “dye plant” (cf. Old Norse maðra, Old High German matara “madder,” Polish modry, Czech modry “blue”). adj.late 13c., from Old English gemædde (plural) “out of one’s mind” (usually implying also violent excitement), also “foolish, extremely stupid,” earlier gemæded “rendered insane,” past participle of a lost verb *gemædan “to make insane or foolish,” from Proto-Germanic *ga-maid-jan, demonstrative form of *ga-maid-az “changed (for the worse), abnormal” (cf. Old Saxon gimed “foolish,” Old High German gimeit “foolish, vain, boastful,” Gothic gamaiþs “crippled, wounded,” Old Norse meiða “to hurt, maim”), from intensive prefix *ga- + PIE *moito-, past participle of root *mei- “to change” (cf. Latin mutare “to change,” mutuus “done in exchange,” migrare “to change one’s place of residence;” see mutable). Emerged in Middle English to replace the more usual Old English word, wod (see wood (adj.)). Sense of “beside oneself with excitement or enthusiasm” is from early 14c. Meaning “beside oneself with anger” is attested from early 14c., but deplored by Rev. John Witherspoon (1781) as an Americanism. It now competes in American English with angry for this sense. Of animals, “affected with rabies,” from late 13c. Phrase mad as a March hare is attested from 1520s, via notion of breeding season; mad as a hatter is from 1829 as “demented,” 1837 as “enraged,” according to a modern theory supposedly from erratic behavior caused by prolonged exposure to poison mercuric nitrate, used in making felt hats. For mad as a wet hen see hen. Mad money is attested from 1922; mad scientist is from 1891. adv.late 14c., from mad (adj.). adj.

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

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
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