maxim (n.)

early 15c., maxime, "an axiom, statement of a self-evident truth," from Old French maxime, from Late Latin maxima, shortened from phrases such as maxima propositio (Boethius), maxima sententarium "axiom," literally "greatest or chief premise, greatest among propositions" (one which is general and absolute), from fem. of maximus "greatest," from PIE *mag-samo-, superlative form of root *meg- "great."

The modern meaning "summary statement of an established or accepted proposition serving as a rule or guide, a proposition ostensibly expressing some general truth" is from 1590s.


single-barreled water-cooled machine gun, 1885 (Maxim gun), named for inventor, U.S.-born British engineer Sir Hiram S. Maxim (1840-1916).

updated on December 09, 2018

Definitions of maxim from WordNet
maxim (n.)
a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits;
Synonyms: axiom
Maxim (n.)
English inventor (born in the United States) who invented the Maxim gun that was used in World War I (1840-1916);
Synonyms: Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim
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