from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Offensive An institution for the mentally ill.
  • n. Informal A place of great disorder and confusion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A house where insane persons are confined; an insane asylum
  • n. A place exhibiting stereotypical characteristics of such a house.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An house or institution where insane persons are confined; an insane asylum; a bedlam; -- usually used in a deprecatory sense.
  • n. A chaotic, raucus or highly disordered situation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A house where insane persons are confined for cure or for restraint; a lunatic asylum; a bedlam.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pejorative terms for an insane asylum


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The madhouse was the old Manor House in Clerkenwell which had belonged to the Earls of Northampton.


  • Divil a word I’d forget, and your face grinning always in front of my eyes, awake or asleep, ’til I do be thinking a madhouse is the proper place for me.

    Act IV. Anna Christie

  • "A madhouse is the place for the man who wants to live ou'doors in the winter time; the poor-farm is too good for him."

    The Village Watch-Tower

  • Learning that she is to be lobotomized in five days, Baby Doll soars or plunges into an alternate reality where the madhouse is a high-end whorehouse and her fellow inmates are her brothel sisters, ready to join her in a five-part quest that could lead to their freedom. Top Stories

  • A private launch event on Wednesday at New York's Time Square was reportedly described as a "madhouse," with celebs such as Emma Roberts, Camilla Belle and Rachel Zoe in attendance.

  • Can you imagine 5 days in the madhouse, that is the emergency ward in Surrey Memorial Hospital?

    Kootenay Rockies - News

  • The only voice of anything approaching reason inside the madhouse is his Executive Officer, Royal Air Force Group-Captain Lionel Mandrake (one of Peter Sellers 'three brilliant roles in the movie), who does everything he can - from cajoling to confrontation to cooperation - to make Ripper see sense, divulge the recall code, stop babbling that he "can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

    Tony Hendra: That Special Blair Bush Relationship; Shades of Doctor Strangelove.

  • In Ukraine, the important question is whether or not the current "madhouse" will turn into a similar "cemetery," now that the new Moscow-influenced president has legitimately won what we can call a relatively free and fair electoral contest.

    Robert Amsterdam: Ukrainology and Russia's Pyrric Victory

  • Africa, which he described as a "madhouse", was heading for disaster.


  • From his assessment at the time it was clear to him that South Africa, which he described as a "madhouse," was heading for disaster.



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    May 19, 2011