ax·​i·​om | \ ˈak-sē-əm How to pronounce axiom (audio) \

Definition of axiom

1 : a statement accepted as true as the basis for argument or inference : postulate sense 1 one of the axioms of the theory of evolution
2 : an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth cites the axiom "no one gives what he does not have"
3 : a maxim widely accepted on its intrinsic merit the axioms of wisdom

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In mathematics or logic, an axiom is an unprovable rule or first principle accepted as true because it is self-evident or particularly useful. “Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect” is an example of an axiom. The term is often used interchangeably with postulate, though the latter term is sometimes reserved for mathematical applications (such as the postulates of Euclidean geometry). It should be contrasted with a theorem, which requires a rigorous proof.

Examples of axiom in a Sentence

one of the key axioms of the theory of evolution
Recent Examples on the Web Brand collaborations feel fun and fresh but are grounded in classic business ideals like organic growth, word-of-mouth advertising, cooperatives and the old axiom that two heads are better than one. Dan Wallace-brewster, Forbes, 8 June 2021 That axiom generally holds true in fantasy baseball as well. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 26 May 2021 The difference lies in the piercing axiom that drives the series: The roots of our national foodways stem from Black hands and minds. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2021 But the likely outcome of the current political horse-trading is that both parties will heed the axiom of never letting a good crisis go to waste. Rajshree Agarwal, Forbes, 5 May 2021 But his words have metamorphosed over two generations into an axiom for the political right: The market can, government cannot. Ian Mcewan, WSJ, 19 Mar. 2021 In 2013 Conway returned to the problem with probabilistic arguments suggesting that the Collatz conjecture itself is unprovable with the axiom systems that are usually used in mathematics. Jean-paul Delahaye, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2021 That requires playing with purpose — another Clifford axiom — and that purpose comes collectively as well as individually. Roy Parry,, 17 Apr. 2021 Abide by that axiom and everything else is on the table. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 15 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'axiom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of axiom

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for axiom

Latin axioma, from Greek axiōma, literally, something worthy, from axioun to think worthy, from axios worth, worthy; akin to Greek agein to weigh, drive — more at agent

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Time Traveler for axiom

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The first known use of axiom was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Axiom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for axiom


ax·​i·​om | \ ˈak-sē-əm How to pronounce axiom (audio) \

Kids Definition of axiom

1 : maxim
2 : a statement thought to be clearly true


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