Definition of madman in US English:



  • 1A man who is mentally ill.

    • ‘Herzog gradually becomes the very fictional character his movie is about, an obsessed madman determined to drag a riverboat over a mountain. - RK’
    • ‘During his junior year at Harvard, in 2001, Ross Douthat was taking a final exam with 200 fellow students when a madman burst into the room.’
    • ‘It was like engaging with the texts of a madman in a mental institution.’
    • ‘He made the sizeable audience laugh with his wit and the rise and fall of his tone which he used to liven up the character Adam Avatar - a madman who is close to 50 and believes that he will die at the hands of his nemesis.’
    • ‘According to Le Carré and Boorman today we really are in the hands of fools and madmen.’
    • ‘By now, everyone along the wide corridor was chucking very hurtful comments at me, all laughing like madmen or madwomen.’
    • ‘We're basically chasing a madman who wants to control time.’
    • ‘He's a psychotic madman, unlike any that has been seen on film before.’
    • ‘I started walking as quickly as possible away from the madman but he was coming after me faster than I was walking away.’
    • ‘Whether it changed an otherwise sensible (well, half-sensible) man into a madman, or whether it just brought out the real madman that was hidden there all along, who knows?’
    • ‘We need to get away from the idea that the only people bound by demons are mentally deranged madmen.’
    • ‘He has often been characterised as a madman or Satanic genius.’
    • ‘The one character left with any topical resonance is Teddy: a madman who believes he is president of the United States and orders troops into action against an invented enemy.’
    • ‘He was also in his time dismissed as a crank and a madman.’
    • ‘Like its predecessors, Killing Time opens with a hard-boiled New York-based psychologist hunting down a madman.’
    • ‘Three days later, Gawain and I answered the door to a newly lip-pierced individual who was grinning like a madman.’
    • ‘Roffis was courageous, and decided to take a chance with the eccentric designer, already known as the madman.’
    • ‘Another Year Five pupil disagreed with the laws, and said: ‘In this world there are serial killers, madmen, and lots of other lunatics.’’
    • ‘The colossal irony is that a madman who rescued her from her folly was the same madman who later killed her.’
    • ‘Band members were flailing around like puppets under the control of a madman.’
    1. 1.1 An extremely foolish or reckless person.
      ‘the car was out of control—some madman going too fast’
      • ‘Except for the maddening crowds at every store, and except for the idiots at Roosevelt Field mall and except for the madmen on the road today, it was a stellar day.’
      • ‘He and his passengers were nearly wiped out a couple of times by the driver he referred to as a madman.’
      • ‘The woman started up the engine and drove like a madman… pardon me… I meant madwoman to the marionettes hotel.’
      • ‘If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.’
      lunatic, maniac, psychotic, psychopath, schizophrenic
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Used in similes to refer to a person who does something very fast, intensely, or violently.
      ‘I was working like a madman’
      • ‘Though his injuries were always an obstacle in his training, as soon as Dekkers was well, he was back in the gym, working like a madman on the heavy bag, doing the repetitions necessary to develop his power.’
      • ‘After seeing the movie, and discovering that the tournament was moving to Brooklyn, I started practicing like a madman, downloading hundreds of old puzzles and buying up a bunch of books.’