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insanity

[in-san-i-tee] /ɪnˈsæn ɪ ti/
noun, plural insanities.
1.
the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.
2.
Law. such unsoundness of mind as frees one from legal responsibility, as for committing a crime, or as signals one's lack of legal capacity, as for entering into a contractual agreement.
3.
Psychiatry. (formerly) psychosis.
4.
  1. extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness:
    Trying to drive through that traffic would be pure insanity.
  2. a foolish or senseless action, policy, statement, etc.:
    We've heard decades of insanities in our political discourse.
Origin of insanity
1580-1590
1580-90; < Latin insānitās. See in-3, sanity
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for insanity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is a taint of insanity and of instability in everything, a mark of feverishness and haste and transition.

    Modern Italian Poets William Dean Howells
  • It is an old trick to say that poets are mad,—you mistake our agonies for insanity.

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • “You must sometimes find it hard to say where sanity ends and insanity begins,” he said thoughtfully.

    A Fortnight of Folly Maurice Thompson
  • For one dreadful moment I believed that you had fallen a victim to her insanity.

    Theresa Marchmont Mrs Charles Gore
  • And what insanity to provoke enemies of the people all around who would bring us things to eat!

    Springhaven R. D. Blackmore
British Dictionary definitions for insanity

insanity

/ɪnˈsænɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
relatively permanent disorder of the mind; state or condition of being insane
2.
(law) a defect of reason as a result of mental illness, such that a defendant does not know what he or she is doing or that it is wrong
3.
utter folly; stupidity
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
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Word Origin and History for insanity
n.

1580s, "state of being insane," from Latin insanitatem (nominative insanitas) "unhealthfulness," noun of quality from insanus (see insane). Meaning "extreme folly" is from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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insanity in Medicine

insanity in·san·i·ty (ĭn-sān'ĭ-tē)
n.

  1. Persistent mental disorder or derangement.

  2. Unsoundness of mind sufficient in the judgment of a civil court to render a person unfit to maintain a contractual or other legal relationship or to warrant commitment to a mental health facility.

  3. In most criminal jurisdictions, a degree of mental malfunctioning considered to be sufficient to relieve the accused of legal responsibility for the act committed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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