mav·​er·​ick | \ ˈmav-rik How to pronounce maverick (audio) , ˈma-və-\

Definition of maverick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an unbranded range animal especially : a motherless calf
2 : an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party



Definition of maverick (Entry 2 of 2)

: characteristic of, suggestive of, or inclined to be a maverick

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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.

Examples of maverick in a Sentence


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 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 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 there's always one maverick who has to go his own way


Occasionally nerves and veins take maverick pathways and show up in unexpected places. — Virginia Holman, Double Take, Winter 2002 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 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 George Sand's maverick views on marriage scandalized 19th-century French society.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Kathryn Haun, an investor with Andreessen Horowitz, will address her journey from prosecutor of financial baddies to backer of financial mavericks. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Wall Street's Titans Meet Fintech's Purple-Haired Innovators—Data Sheet," 18 June 2019 That’s better done by engaging with him than by branding him a maverick. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Russian Scientist Wants to Use CRISPR to Genetically Edit Infants," 12 June 2019 Their fans love a maverick who will conjure moments of magic., "Sky Sports Pundit Jamie Redknapp Believes Arsenal Star Needs to Leave Emirates to Fulfil Potential," 14 May 2018 And on Tuesday, Democrats in several states that Trump carried in 2016 selected ideological mavericks to carry their banner in difficult House races., "Trying for House gains, Democrats favor moderates and annoy liberals," 13 May 2018 Khanna, a quiet maverick among Democrats, is an unconventional ambassador for his party. Evan Halper,, "This Silicon Valley congressman wants to sell his vision to Trump country. Here's why Democrats' future could hinge on it," 6 May 2018 Hiandra Martinez takes on the bride as a renegade, a maverick, and a mother. Carine Roitfeld, Harper's BAZAAR, "The modern bride is a rebel, a romantic, a maverick, a mother–and so much more.," 2 Apr. 2019 The Inventor is right to hone in on Holmes’s obsession with the story of her company, its place in disruption history but also her identity as the impassioned maverick out to save the world, naysayers be damned. Bridget Read, Vogue, "The Inventor Misses Elizabeth Holmes’s—And Silicon Valley’s—Most Insidious Crimes," 19 Mar. 2019 Handler had developed a reputation as a maverick with nerves of steel; she’d made Mattel millions in sales. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "There’s Something About Barbie," 7 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Lots of fans are angry, but loads who otherwise would be are now full of praise for this ‘maverick banter’. Feels too contrived., "Newcastle 2019/20 Home Kit: Magpies Unveil New Shirt as Toon Army Prepares Protest," 1 July 2019 Roger Corman’s influence on Hollywood's greatest filmmakers is well documented, with the maverick director having mentored the likes of Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron to name just a few. Mathew Scott, The Hollywood Reporter, "Meet the Malaysian Filmmakers Following In Roger Corman’s Indie Footsteps," 7 June 2019 Hanger is a folksy veteran legislator with a maverick streak who has been primaried before. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "Republicans who helped expand Medicaid in Virginia mostly escape primary challenges," 4 June 2019 Whether Sawyer is in the grip of insanity or a hellish trap of legitimate physical danger, Unsane is a dispiritingly pedestrian woman-in-peril shocker to have come from such a maverick filmmaker. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Unsane': Film Review | Berlin 2018," 21 Feb. 2018 Years later, when the council debated sick-leave and minimum-wage mandates, Meinert had become a successful bar owner and band manager with a maverick political reputation. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Dave Meinert sexual-misconduct allegations reverberate through Seattle’s music, nightlife, political circles," 10 Aug. 2018 Mirroring the trend in much of Europe, Spain’s parliament is increasingly fragmented, with established parties jostling with regional nationalists and maverick groups that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Spain Is Pushed Closer to Snap Elections by Trial of Catalan Separatists," 12 Feb. 2019 That maverick attitude has also drawn the ire of President Donald Trump. Brian Brinker, Fox News, "Trump Nixed Statement, John McCain Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy," 27 Aug. 2018 By Elif Batuman Sick of corruption and of Trump, voters embrace a maverick leftist. William Brewer, The New Yorker, "Strays," 9 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maverick.' 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 maverick


1867, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for maverick

Noun and Adjective

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

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Statistics for maverick

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for maverick

The first known use of maverick was in 1867

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More Definitions for maverick



English Language Learners Definition of maverick

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on maverick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for maverick

Spanish Central: Translation of maverick

Nglish: Translation of maverick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maverick for Arabic Speakers

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