Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.
  • n. One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
  • adj. Being independent in thought and action or exhibiting such independence: maverick politicians; a maverick decision.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Showing independence in thoughts or actions.
  • n. An unbranded range animal.
  • n. One who does not abide by rules.
  • n. One who creates or uses unconventional and/or controversial ideas or practices.
  • n. A queen and a jack as a starting hand in Texas hold ’em

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In the southwestern part of the united States, a bullock or heifer that has not been branded, and is unclaimed or wild; -- said to be from Maverick, the name of a cattle owner in Texas who neglected to brand his cattle.
  • transitive v. To take a maverick.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. On the great cattle-ranges of the United States, an animal found without an owner's brand, particularly a calf away from its dam, on which the finder puts his own or his employer's brand; or one of a number of such animals gathered in a general round-up or muster of the herds of different owners feeding together, which are distributed in a manner agreed upon.
  • n. Hence—2. Anything dishonestly obtained, as a saddle, mine, or piece of land.
  • To seize or brand (an animal) as a maverick; hence, to take possession of without any legal claim; appropriate dishonestly or illegally: as, to maverick a piece of land.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action
  • adj. independent in behavior or thought
  • n. an unbranded range animal (especially a stray calf); belongs to the first person who puts a brand on it

Etymologies

Possibly after Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-1870), American cattleman who left the calves in his herd unbranded .
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the surname of Texas lawyer Samuel Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle. The surname Maverick is of Welsh origin, from Welsh mawr-rwyce, meaning "valiant hero". An alternative etymology proposes the Hebrew word מבריק (maḇərīq) "shiny, brilliant" as origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Years ago in an IBM revue : the meaning was somebody without experience

    June 7, 2010

  • Something that de-mavericks a maverick.

    October 13, 2008

  • What is a maverick's brand?

    October 13, 2008

  • James Garner played. I hope.

    October 9, 2008

  • Tom Selleck played. Moustache probably still drooping :-{

    October 9, 2008

  • *wondering how many of us played the "my friends" drinking game during the second debate*

    *wondering how many are still hung over*

    October 9, 2008

  • I should remove this word from my "A spoonful of sugar" list, since there is no way I can possibly forget the meaning of this word after the Palin-bombing.

    October 9, 2008

  • He did not say it at all during the second debate. Thanks in no small part to Tina Fey methinks.

    October 9, 2008

  • *wink*

    October 9, 2008

  • Interesting, Lampbane! I was thinking about the history of the word and how it doesn't really apply in this case, but I didn't know all this family history. Thanks for posting.

    This was my favorite part of the article:
    "“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’�?

    “He’s a Republican,�? she said. “He’s branded.�?

    October 7, 2008

  • Who You Callin’ a Maverick?

    There’s that word again: maverick. In Thursday’s vice-presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican candidate, used it to describe herself and her running mate, Senator John McCain, no fewer than six times, at one point calling him “the consummate maverick.�?

    But to those who know the history of the word, applying it to Mr. McCain is a bit of a stretch — and to one Texas family in particular it is even a bit offensive.

    “I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,�? said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

    In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.�? The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.

    October 7, 2008