Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun mav·er·ick \ˈmav-rik, ˈma-və-\

Simple Definition of maverick

  • : a person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of maverick

  1. 1 :  an unbranded range animal; especially :  a motherless calf

  2. 2 :  an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

Examples of maverick in a sentence

  1. Let him refind his inner rebel, the famous irreverent maverick, let the tiger out of the cage. —Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, 28–29 June 2008

  2. In the Senate, however, he had established himself as a bright and prickly maverick, not averse to sharp criticism of his own party, its policies, and its leaders, most especially Bill Clinton. —John Gregory Dunne, New York Review of Books, 13 June 2002

  3. This, of course, is dangerous for the rest of us. With one successfully repatriated daughter, Papi might yank us all out of college and send us back. Not to mention that it's out and out creepy that Fifi, the maverick, is so changed. —Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, 1991

  4. <there's always one maverick who has to go his own way>

Did You Know?

When a client gave Samuel A. Maverick 400 cattle to settle a $1,200 debt, the 19th-century south Texas lawyer had no use for them, so he left the cattle unbranded and allowed them to roam freely (supposedly under the supervision of one of his employees). Neighboring stockmen recognized their opportunity and seized it, branding and herding the stray cattle as their own. Maverick eventually recognized the folly of the situation and sold what was left of his depleted herd, but not before his name became synonymous with such unbranded livestock. By the end of the 19th century, the term maverick was being used to refer to individuals who prefer to blaze their own trails.

Origin and Etymology of maverick

Samuel A. Maverick †1870 American pioneer who did not brand his calves

First Known Use: 1867

Other Animal Husbandry Terms



adjective mav·er·ick \ˈmav-rik, ˈma-və-\

Definition of maverick

  1. :  characteristic of, suggestive of, or inclined to be a maverick (see 1maverick)

Examples of maverick in a sentence

  1. Occasionally nerves and veins take maverick pathways and show up in unexpected places. —Virginia Holman, Double Take,Winter 2002

  2. Later British units, deprived of the opportunity for maverick expression by a revamped chain of UN command with a different political agenda, started spouting the organization's euphemisms that sought to paint every Bosnian side the same shade of guilty grey. —Anthony Loyd, My War Gone By, I Miss It So, 1999

  3. He was maverick enough, original-minded enough, however, to realize that he could do better than simply follow Murray's orders to the letter. —Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998

  4. <George Sand's maverick views on marriage scandalized 19th-century French society.>

Origin and Etymology of maverick

(see 1maverick)

First Known Use: 1886

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up maverick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of, relating to, or near a shore

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

interruption rebellion torrent megillah
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.