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

  • n. A succinct formulation of a fundamental principle, general truth, or rule of conduct. See Synonyms at saying.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A self-evident axiom or premise; a pithy expression of a general principle or rule.
  • n. A precept; a succinct statement or observation of a rule of conduct or moral teaching.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An established principle or proposition; a condensed proposition of important practical truth; an axiom of practical wisdom; an adage; a proverb; an aphorism.
  • n. The longest note formerly used, equal to two longs, or four breves; a large.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A proposition serving as a rule or guide; a summary statement of an established or accepted principle; a pithy expression of a general rule of conduct or action, whether true or false: as, the maxims of religion or of law; the maxims of worldly wisdom or of avarice; ethical maxims.
  • n. In logic, the rule of a commonplace; an ultimate major premise.
  • n. An axiom.
  • n. Same as maxima.

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

  • n. English inventor (born in the United States) who invented the Maxim gun that was used in World War I (1840-1916)
  • n. a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits


Middle English maxime, from Old French, from Medieval Latin maxima, from maxima (prōpositiō), greatest (premise), feminine of Latin maximus, greatest; see meg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman maxime and Middle French maxime, from Late Latin maxima ("axiom"), noun use of the feminine singular form of Latin maximus (apparently as used in the phrase propositio maxima "greatest premise"). (Wiktionary)



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