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

Definition of maxim

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"

Examples of maxim in a Sentence

it's a common maxim that “a watched pot never boils,” but that's not literally true
Recent Examples on the Web This centrality of public health to law—encapsulated by the legal maxim salus populi suprema lex (the health and well-being of the public is the highest law)—was widely accepted in 19th- and 20th-century state and federal court decisions. Wendy E. Parmet, Scientific American, 17 May 2022 But a beetle the size of a grain of sand flips this maxim on its head. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 21 Mar. 2022 Among these is the maxim that limitations on rights won’t be applied in an arbitrary manner and will be proportional to a legitimate pressing public or social need. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, 22 Feb. 2022 Anyone who has been a guide, writer, policymaker, or advocate for the earth has repeated some version of this maxim: the more people who enjoy nature, the more people who will work to protect it. Outside Online, 3 June 2021 There's simply no such thing as too many red dresses. Leave it to Jennifer Lopez to put that maxim to the test. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 Apr. 2022 Moore is famous for coining Moore’s Law, the maxim that predicted the number of transistors in computer chips would double at regular intervals — every year, or, in a later iteration, every two. oregonlive, 11 Apr. 2022 Even the maxim that lifting is good only for getting big has been routinely undermined by a new legion of fitness instructors; women who were once cautioned against handling anything mightier than a hand weight now grunt and pull with abandon. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2022 The ancient maxim intimates that beneath the scale of consciousness and conventional experience lies a ceaseless torrent of change, a swarm of chasms and metamorphoses. Michael W. Clune, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of maxim

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maxim

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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Last Updated

5 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Maxim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for maxim


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

Maxim biographical name (1)

Max·​im | \ ˈmak-səm How to pronounce Maxim (audio) \

Definition of Maxim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


biographical name (2)

Definition of Maxim (Entry 2 of 2)

Hudson 1853–1927 brother of Hiram Maxim American inventor

More from Merriam-Webster on maxim

Nglish: Translation of maxim for Spanish Speakers


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