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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The book-collecting and -selling impulse animates an entertaining group of mostly self-deprecating mavericks who are a joy to follow through their groaning shelves. The Economist, "The secret—and surprising—world of rare books," 27 Apr. 2020 From model and muse to musician and maverick, Jones has spent the better part of the past 50 years crashing boundaries. Allison Mcgevna, Essence, "How Grace Jones Continues To Push Us To Be Powerful," 23 Apr. 2020 By Kathryn Aalto Aalto profiles 25 female writers, activists, naturalists and mavericks who advocate for the natural world. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, "21 new and classic books to keep you in touch with the natural world," 6 Apr. 2020 With corporations ruling radio, TV and print in 2020, Allison remained a gentle maverick until the end. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit radio legend, 'Bowling for Dollars' host Bob Allison dies," 26 Mar. 2020 New series Unladylike2020 will feature the fascinating stories of 26 female mavericks, many of which most history books tend to gloss over. Ineye Komonibo,, "PBS Celebrates Female Mavericks With New Series Unladylike2020," 3 Mar. 2020 True mavericks, the Yurmans celebrate 40 years of jewels and constant evolution with their 57th Street flagship. The Editors, Town & Country, "The 2020 Town & Country Jewelry Awards," 17 Jan. 2020 Lawlis sees himself as an anti-establishment maverick. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Meet the Controversial Doctor Behind the Dr. Phil Empire," 27 Feb. 2020 Ford executives hired California car maverick Shelby (played in the film by Matt Damon), who in turn drafted maverick driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to mount the assault., "Those classic Shelby race cars in ‘Ford v Ferrari’ aren’t what they seem," 8 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Portland has always been about progressive policies and maverick politicians. oregonlive, "Portland Commissioner Position 4 candidates explain if they feel the city is more divided now than past years," 26 Apr. 2020 Prine also was a maverick businessman, who walked away from the major record labels to start a mail-order business of his own, Oh Boy! Records, which was an early model for the coming independent label boom of the 1990s and 21st century. Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times, "John Prine, revered singer-songwriter, dies of COVID-19 complications at 73," 7 Apr. 2020 So there’s the Texas maverick side, but also a part of us that will absolutely step up to take care of our own. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "'This will blow over': In states without stay-at-home orders, Americans celebrate freedom as death toll climbs," 2 Apr. 2020 In front of Baquedano’s statue, maverick artists have installed three wooden sculptures that personify the indigenous tribes of Chile, from north to south. Ariel Dorfman, The New York Review of Books, "Chile: Notes from a Revolt," 13 Mar. 2020 His regard for maverick composers from all countries led to his writing, with J. Bernlef, a biography of Charles Ives, published in the Netherlands in 1969. Anthony Tommasini,, "Reinbert de Leeuw, Dutch champion of contemporary music, 81," 26 Feb. 2020 An hour before the event, the maverick creative director published the handwritten show notes to Instagram. Georgia Murray,, "Gucci Turned The Backstage Into The Runway This Season," 19 Feb. 2020 In fact, Republicans grumbled for years that the McCain fun factor and his maverick streak made him more an ally of reporters than other Republicans. Laurie Kellman, The Seattle Times, "McCain had a ‘wicked’ wit that he often aimed at himself," 27 Aug. 2018 Rami enjoyed the diatribes: there was something maverick about them. Colum Mccann, Harper's magazine, "Here and There," 20 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maverick

Time Traveler for maverick

Time Traveler

The first known use of maverick was in 1867

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about maverick

Statistics for maverick

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maverick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for maverick


How to pronounce maverick (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of maverick

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on maverick

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!