maxim

noun
max·​im | \ˈmak-səm \

Definition of maxim 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a general truth, fundamental principle, or rule of conduct Mother's favorite maxim was "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

2 : a proverbial saying advised her daughter with the maxim "marry in haste, repent at leisure"

Maxim

biographical name (1)
Max·​im | \ˈmak-səm \

Definition of Maxim (Entry 2 of 3)

Sir Hiram Stevens 1840–1916 British (American-born) inventor

Maxim

biographical name (2)

Definition of Maxim (Entry 3 of 3)

Hudson 1853–1927 brother of Hiram Maxim American inventor

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Examples of maxim in a Sentence

Noun

it's a common maxim that “a watched pot never boils,” but that's not literally true

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And inside the Milan Metropol this afternoon, there was a pivotal moment during Dolce & Gabbana’s distinctly age-diverse and inclusive Spring 2019 show that embodied this maxim. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Mother-Daughter Model Duo Just Had an Ageless Beauty Moment at Dolce & Gabbana," 23 Sep. 2018 To play on an old maxim, people who are unwilling to apologize are either Gods or monsters. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Men Need to Say Sorry More," 31 July 2018 Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, said, quoting the old maxim often attributed to Mark Twain. Taryn Luna And Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "Get ready to save water: Permanent California restrictions approved by Gov. Jerry Brown," 31 May 2018 What could cut through the political crosscurrents this year is a simple maxim: Asians vote for Asians. Vivian Yee, New York Times, "Democrats Hope Asian-American Influx Will Help Turn Orange County Blue," 3 June 2018 That maxim—a sound mind in a sound body—is the sort of bourgeois faux-wisdom that fails to equip Aickman’s civil servants to deal with the supernatural. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Weird Fiction Is Alive," 7 May 2018 Each spring, when college acceptances and rejections arrive in the mail, a simple maxim applies: The thicker the envelope, the better the news. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "Can USC Survive Scandal and Shed Its Spoiled-Kid Reputation Once and For All?," 10 July 2018 The story of Oedipus exemplifies the maxim’s meaning. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Know Thyself’ Review: The Evolution of a Culture," 10 June 2018 There is an immovable group of pro-Trump Americans (around 40 percent in the polls) who seem to endorse the Nike-Woods maxim. David Hawpe, The Courier-Journal, "Book review: There's more political warfare and polarization in Trump's future," 4 June 2018

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

Noun

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maxim

Noun

Middle English maxime, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin maxima, from Latin, feminine of maximus, superlative of magnus large — more at much

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Statistics for maxim

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maxim

The first known use of maxim was in 1567

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More Definitions for maxim

maxim

noun

English Language Learners Definition of maxim

: a well-known phrase that expresses a general truth about life or a rule about behavior

maxim

noun
max·​im | \ˈmak-səm \

Kids Definition of maxim

: a short saying (as “live and let live”) expressing a general truth or rule of conduct

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More from Merriam-Webster on maxim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for maxim

Spanish Central: Translation of maxim

Nglish: Translation of maxim for Spanish Speakers

Comments on maxim

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living or existing for a long time

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