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

Noun 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 Adjective 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 Ewan McGregor stars as the late fashion maverick, reportedly putting on such a convincing performance that even Halston’s good friend Tom Ford was impressed by the portrayal. Ineye Komonibo,, 12 May 2021 The engaging entertainer and maverick in the music field was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. Kathy Laskowski,, 16 May 2021 The pair of maverick-lite Senators from Arizona — Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly — have also shown little interest in jamming things through without cross-aisle pollination. Philip Elliott, Time, 4 May 2021 However, he is sometimes viewed as somewhat of a maverick. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 One of those parties is Beckley Psytech, a strategic partner of the NGO the Beckley Foundation in the U.K., founded by psychedelic maverick Lady Amanda Feilding. David E. Carpenter, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 Another of my colleagues, a true maverick, managed to come up with what the test told him was a quite-rare result of having no strong archetype matches at all. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 26 Apr. 2021 Arizona loves a good maverick, and both Sinema and Kelly have wrapped themselves in that cape. Philip Elliott, Time, 23 Apr. 2021 In doing so, Sherman has cemented its reputation as a maverick in the industry. Justin Scheck, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Just as the house founder rewrote the fashion rules, his successor intends to take an maverick approach to the system, one that will be independent of fashion schedules and seasons. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 26 May 2021 Musk has long cultivated a maverick approach to robot-car technologies. Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2021 That night, Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates would showcase a special edition jersey, designed in collaboration with its apparel partner, Adidas, and Palace, the maverick British skate and streetwear brand. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2021 The maverick tech mogul has, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with a halfway decent internet connection, become a stock character. Judy Berman, Time, 1 Apr. 2021 The company has worked on its maverick quantum project since 2004. Tom Simonite, Wired, 8 Mar. 2021 Amad, with his low centre of gravity, glides past players for fun and has a maverick personality on the pitch – constantly looking to use skills to get around his opposition and create chances. Liam Canning, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2021 The would-be maverick Democrat is trying to sink the minimum wage hike. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, 13 Feb. 2021 Lemkau visited Elon Musk’s house in California as the maverick Tesla Inc. chief scrambled to cobble together a deal that would take his electric-vehicle firm private at $420 a share in 2018. Sridhar Natarajan,, 16 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for maverick

Time Traveler

The first known use of maverick was in 1867

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Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maverick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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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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