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[mad-hous] /ˈmædˌhaʊs/
noun, plural madhouses
[mad-hou-ziz] /ˈmædˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
a hospital for the confinement and treatment of mentally disturbed persons.
a wild, confused, and often noisy place, set of circumstances, etc.:
The office was a madhouse today.
Origin of madhouse
1680-90; mad + house
2. bedlam, shambles. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for madhouse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He thought that people might shut him up in a madhouse if he told them that he could not recollect his own name.

    Brooke's Daughter Adeline Sergeant
  • She jolly near drove as fine a fellow as ever lived into a madhouse.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • You will either tell me what I want to know, or, Miss Hardwick will go to the madhouse or the grave.

  • The point of view can turn three walls and a door into a madhouse.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • The awful humiliation of it unseated Robert Dale Owen's reason, and he died in the madhouse.

British Dictionary definitions for madhouse


noun (informal)
a mental hospital or asylum
a state of uproar or confusion
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 madhouse

1680s, from mad + house (n.). Figurative use by 1919.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for madhouse



A scene of confusion: a madhouse at the grocery store

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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