1 of 2


mav·​er·​ick ˈmav-rik How to pronounce maverick (audio)
: an unbranded range animal
especially : a motherless calf
: an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party


2 of 2


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

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.

Example Sentences

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
Fans of the coffee maverick's pistachio latte have a cool surprise on the winter menu. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 9 Jan. 2023 Here, the washed up maverick is Newman, educating Cruise in comportment, honing his skill at the pool table and showing him how to exploit all of that talent. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2022 Real estate developer Rick Caruso, the maverick in the race, is a centrist, whereas his more progressive opponent, Rep. Karen Bass, has deep ties to City Hall, labor and the broader political establishment. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2022 That’s Mary Harron, the wickedly gifted maverick who turns out-of-the-box biopic voyeurism into an artful obsession. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 18 Sep. 2022 Morrissey, an anti-establishment candidate with a reputation as a maverick in Richmond, had accused the state party of seeking to limit voting locations and helping McClellan by placing them in areas more favorable to her. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2022 His unpredictable voting patterns occasionally prompted the casual observer describe him as a maverick, a term Mazzoli disliked. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 3 Nov. 2022 Leadership style was another area of conflict, with Hough describing himself as a maverick who would inject outside-the-box ideas into council debates. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Oct. 2022 Rock ’n’ roll was still in its infancy when a brash, backwoods maverick with a wavy blond pompadour and an arrogant sneer roared onto the airwaves with an unruly concoction of country, gospel, and rhythm and blues. Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2022
The design was by aviation legend Burt Rutan, known for his bold and often maverick creations. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 27 Jan. 2023 Sinema has modeled her political approach on the maverick style of the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who alienated the grassroots of his party by sometimes crossing the aisle to work with Democrats. Time, 23 Jan. 2023 But the true landmark was Pierre Balmain’s Vent Vert, created by maverick female perfumer Germaine Cellier (also the mastermind behind Robert Piguet’s showstopping Fracas) in 1947. Town & Country, 19 Dec. 2022 When Musk ran PayPal in 1999, the company was in a position to disrupt the payments business because of a new technology—the internet—and the maverick attitude of its executive team. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2022 Even in New Hampshire, where maverick candidates in both parties have found success over the decades, longtime Republicans wondered whether there was a market for a Cheney candidacy within the G.O.P. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2022 This week’s visit will be scrutinized for clues about the trajectory of a more maverick Saudi foreign policy. Stephen Kalin, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2022 As the label carved out a space for pop’s true maverick weirdos, Harle became notable for his classically pristine pop production, evident on collaborations with Charli XCX and Carly Rae Jepsen. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 5 Dec. 2022 But even more remarkable is the fact that he's done all this without losing his maverick status. Katie Rife,, 7 Nov. 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.

Word History


Noun and Adjective

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

First Known Use


1867, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of maverick was in 1867


Dictionary Entries Near maverick

Cite this Entry

“Maverick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an unbranded range animal
especially : a motherless calf
: an independent person who refuses to follow the usual standards or customs of the group

More from Merriam-Webster on maverick

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?