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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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Robyn brings nearly two decades of outstanding work in the real estate world emerging as a maverick who was a key individual that helped reposition the torn northwest market from the housing debacle of 2008. Jill Griffin, Forbes, 6 June 2022 He and the late Tom McCall, a fellow maverick Republican and Hatfield’s successor as governor, are widely considered the most influential Oregon political leaders of the 20th century. oregonlive, 12 July 2022 That’s what makes the firm called Fundrise stand out as a maverick. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 9 July 2022 Peter Brook was called many other things: a maverick, a romantic, a classicist., 3 July 2022 Entering the bruising political fight is an unusual move for Morris, who has long been a maverick in Hollywood. Matthew Mosk, CBS News, 9 May 2022 In March 2019, seven months after Senator John McCain died, Mr. Trump was still mounting posthumous attacks on the Arizona maverick, who had been a Navy pilot and prisoner of war for five years in Vietnam. New York Times, 19 Dec. 2021 Jason Lee, the media maverick behind Hollywood Unlocked, has had an unique career path. Corein Carter, Forbes, 18 May 2022 On its face, the unlikely mashup of styles—unconventional maverick on one side, likely complicated corporate layers (albeit family ones) on the other—might seem fraught with potential for creative limitations and cross-purpose agendas. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 13 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The crypto world loves to embrace larger-than-life heroes like Satoshi, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder, and Changpeng Zhao, maverick CEO of giant trading exchange Binance. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 As a maverick Republican senator, Urquhart had sparred with the LDS Church several times, mainly over LGBTQ rights. Cassady Rosenblum, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2022 That makes Nothing really look like the inheritors of a lot of pre-Oppo-merger OnePlus staff, and potentially of the company's maverick attitude, as well. Sascha Segan, PCMAG, 8 June 2022 Build Back Better, Biden’s plan for transforming America in a Johnsonian manner, has been stalled by maverick Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Idrees Kahloon, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 His show No Sleep will return this summer, switching to a biannual format so the maverick producer can devote himself to club life full-time. Lee Keeler, SPIN, 10 May 2022 She was aided by the maverick campaign of ultranationalist gadfly Eric Zemmour, whose snarling anti-immigrant, anti-establishment rhetoric has made Le Pen — a far-right mainstay for years — look comparatively moderate. Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2022 Clear regulations leave little room for maverick decisions. Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2022 Meanwhile, a maverick police detective vows to stop him. Andy Meek, BGR, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of maverick was in 1867

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Maverick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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