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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Did You Know?

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 But in the wake of the pandemic’s seismic economic and social upheaval, many axioms of modern city life—office commutes, certain real estate patterns, and more—are likely to be revisited and reimagined. Doug Gordon, The New Republic, "American Cities Are Built for Cars. The Coronavirus Could Change That.," 26 May 2020 The old axiom explains why administrators across the nation are practically apoplectic over the prospects if COVID-19 causes the cancellation of football this fall or so much as keeps fans out of stadiums. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "How much money are college football players worth? Research shows 5-star recruits would earn big payday," 21 Apr. 2020 The old axiom in American politics is that economic concerns reign supreme. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Republicans say voters will give Trump a pass on economy if they think he can fix it," 14 Apr. 2020 There is a counter-tradition, less theoretical than practical, that has seen isolation as neither a threat to, nor an axiom of, democracy. Corey Robin, The New York Review of Books, "What People Power Looks Like in a Pandemic Democracy," 13 Apr. 2020 A decade ago, Justice opined that four such carriers were necessary to maintain competition, but this dubious axiom, which has never been tested and belongs to a different era, Mr. Delrahim apparently felt powerless to junk. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Why Hope Is Fading for Sprint and T-Mobile," 1 Feb. 2020 On paper, the new doctors are to avoid direct care of Covid-19 patients, but an axiom of military planning applies equally to medicine: the enemy gets a vote. Jim Dwyer, New York Times, "One Final Step for 52 Medical Students, Eager to Join the Fight," 6 Apr. 2020 There’s an axiom in the NFL that personnel evaluators fall in love with college players during the fall only to pick them apart in the spring leading up to the draft. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Lack of information prior to NFL draft might be a good thing for teams," 5 Apr. 2020 With the end of the Cold War, Marshall’s axiom came roaring back in full force. Andrew J. Bacevich, Harper's magazine, "The Old Normal," 2 Mar. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for axiom

Last Updated

10 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Axiom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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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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