In mathematics, a point at which a function's value is greatest. If the value is greater than or equal to all other function values, it is an absolute maximum. If it is merely greater than any nearby point, it is a relative, or local, maximum. In calculus, the derivative equals zero or does not exist at a function's maximum point. Techniques for finding maximum and minimum points motivated the early development of calculus and have made it easier to solve problems such as finding the dimensions of a container that will hold the most for a given amount of material used to make it. See also minimum, optimization.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on maximum, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up maximum? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More