Islamic college, school for religious education of youth, 1620s, from Arabic madrasah, literally "a place of study," from locative prefix ma- + stem of darasa "he read repeatedly, he studied," which is related to Hebrew darash (compare midrash "biblical interpretation").
former Indian state (modern Chennai, a Tamil name), the name sometimes is said to be from Sanskrit Mandra, a name of a god of the underworld, but it is perhaps rather from Arabic madrasa "school" (see madrasah) or Portuguese Madre (de Deus). The British fort there dates from 1639. Related: Madrasi.
Madras handkerchief "large handkerchief of silk and cotton, usually in bright colors" (1833) is from the place, from which brightly colored muslin cloth was exported.