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

Keep scrolling for more

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 How Bolles continues to prove the old Woody Allen axiom that 80 percent of success in life is just showing the heck up. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Keeler: Garett Bolles might be luckiest man on planet. He just became Broncos’ most indispensable player.," 4 Aug. 2020 Live by this axiom: Buy the simple stuff, lease anything complex. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "Looking to Buy or Lease? A Word of Advice," 3 July 2020 The old baseball axiom is that a team in first place on July 4 will win the pennant, and on July 3 the Giants were tied for first. Scott Ostler,, "Giants’ camp opener not ‘great and fluffy,’ but close enough," 3 July 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about axiom

Time Traveler for axiom

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for axiom

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Axiom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on axiom

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!