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[mey-nee-ak] /ˈmeɪ niˌæk/
a raving or violently insane person; lunatic.
any intemperate or overly zealous or enthusiastic person:
a maniac when it comes to details.
Origin of maniac
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin maniacus of, pertaining to madness. See mania, -ac Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for maniac
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then, he realized that the man at the helm must be a maniac.

    When the Cock Crows Waldron Baily
  • I said so, more because Dudley was glaring at Macartney like a maniac than anything else.

    The La Chance Mine Mystery Susan Carleton Jones
  • And, groaning deeply, he threw himself on a chair, and rugged his hair like a maniac in the highest paroxysm of his disease.

  • An assassin or maniac could kill him almost any hour of the day or night.

    The Clansman Thomas Dixon
  • Far as the eye reaches, a multitudinous sea of maniac heads, the air deaf with their triumph-yell!

    The Glory of English Prose Stephen Coleridge
British Dictionary definitions for maniac


a wild disorderly person
a person who has a great craving or enthusiasm for something: a football maniac
(psychiatry, obsolete) a person afflicted with mania
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin maniacus belonging to madness, from Greek
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 maniac

c.1600, "pertaining to mania; insane," from French maniaque (14c.), from Late Latin maniacus, from Greek maniakos, from mania (see mania). Borrowed at first in French form; Latinized in English from 1727. The noun is attested from 1763, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maniac in Medicine

maniac ma·ni·ac (mā'nē-āk')
An insane person.

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