maxim

noun
max·​im | \ ˈmak-səm How to pronounce maxim (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Maxim (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The dirty work of democracy is often compared to the making of sausages, but Australians almost take that maxim literally — turning Election Day into a countrywide barbecue, in which the grilling of hot dogs is optional but voting is compulsory. Tacey Rychter, The Seattle Times, "Australia tells America: Here’s how to fix your voting system," 22 Oct. 2018 Still, William Goldman’s showbiz maxim applies: nobody knows anything. Jason Gay, WSJ, "It’s La-La Land for LeBron James," 2 July 2018 The reality is Tip O’Neill’s maxim no longer applies: All local politics is now national. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Will a justice delayed be a justice denied?," 19 Sep. 2018 Inside a dorm set aside for teenage girls, the walls were spare, dotted with snapshots of birthday parties and painted with inspirational maxims; the doors lock from inside and out. New York Times, "16 and Alone, Inside a Center for Separated Children in New York," 21 June 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maxim

Statistics for maxim

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maxim

The first known use of maxim was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce maxim (audio) \

Kids Definition of maxim

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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