The poker noun sense (“a queen and a jack as a starting hand in Texas hold 'em”) may be from the theme song of the US Western television series Maverick (1957–1962), which says of the eponymous protagonist that “[g]amblin’ is his game” and that he is “livin’ on jacks and queens”.
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: măvʹər-ĭk, IPA(key): /ˈmævəɹɪk/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈmævəɹik/
Audio (GA) (file) Audio (AU) (file)
- Hyphenation: ma‧ve‧rick
- Of cattle: unbranded.
- 1875, “Investigating Commission of the Northern Frontier”, in Reports of the Committee of Investigation Sent in 1873 by the Mexican Government to the Frontier of Texas. […], New York, N.Y.: Baker & Godwin, printers, […], OCLC 1006490491, section V, pages 62–63:
- Occasionally some young men who have no cattle of their own will take part in these expeditions, or they will give their services by the year to receive a pro rata of all the maverick cattle that may be found. [Quoted from The Texas New Yorker, pages 110–111.]
- 1963, Harry T. Getty, The San Carlos Indian Cattle Industry (Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona; no. 7), Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, OCLC 318444563, page 65:
- But I would rather have maverick cattle, they are more accustomed to range conditions. My cattle from the registered herd have not done too well.
- 2016, Victoria Lamont, “Western Violence and the Limits of Sentimental Power”, in Westerns: A Women’s History, Lincoln, Neb.; London: University of Nebraska Press, →ISBN, page 40:
- Attempts to regulate the distribution of maverick cattle throughout the 1880s affected particularly the access of cowboys to mavericks.
- Showing independence in thoughts or actions.
- He made a maverick decision. She is such a maverick person.
maverick (plural mavericks)
- An unbranded range animal. [from 1860s]
- 1872, W. G. Kingsbury, “Cattle-raising in Western Texas. How It is Conducted—Profits of the Business, &c.”, in A Brief Description of Western Texas, […], San Antonio, Tx.: Herald Steam Job Printing House and Book Bindery, OCLC 1021977, page 36:
- In this distribution, care is taken to leave not only those which bear the owner's mark and brand, but his due proportion of the mavericks* that have been found upon the expedition. [footnote: *The term "maverick" is applied in this country to all animals that have neither mark nor brand upon them, and originated in this way: […]]
- 1884, The National Live-stock Journal, volume 1, Chicago, Ill.: George W. Rust & Co., OCLC 809142895, page 55, column 3:
- Under this law 2,035 mavericks (orphan calves) were discovered and disposed of by the round-up foremen. Formerly the custom was to brand mavericks with the brand of the owner of that portion of the range where they were found. Under the new law, all mavericks are branded with the association brand, and sold at auction.
- 1904, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], “A Call Loan”, in Heart of the West, [Garden City, N.Y.]: Published by Doubleday, Page & Company for Review of Reviews Co., OCLC 6038180, page 241:
- Long Bill was a graduate of the camp and trail. Luck and thrift, a cool head, and a telescopic eye for mavericks had raised him from cowboy to be a cowman.
- (by extension) Anything dishonestly obtained.
- (by extension) One who is unconventional or does not abide by rules. [from 1880s]
- 1924 May 3, Collier’s, volume 73, Springfield, Oh.: Crowell-Collier Publishing Company, OCLC 1564087, page 38:
- As a voter, I'm a maverick, don't belong to any party. I believe that John Doe is the best available man for county commissioner, Richard Roe for sheriff, Joe Hicks for governor—but John is a Democrat, Dick is a Republican, and Joe is—well, something else.
- 1926, “The Engineers’ Basketball Contest: Civils vs. Electricals”, in The Idaho Engineer, Boise, Ida.: Idaho Society of Professional Engineers, OCLC 42315831, page 70:
- The relative merits of the civils and the demerits of the electricals were extolled in the following challenge: “To the A.I.E.E. [American Institute of Electrical Engineers], hereinafter referred to as the mavericks of the engineering profession."
- (by extension) One who creates or uses controversial or unconventional ideas or practices.
- 1947, Norman Burns, The Administration of Higher Institutions under Changing Conditions (Institute for Administrative Officers of Higher Institutions; Proceedings), Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, OCLC 4017293, page 75:
- We then drift back into our old habits, glorify efficiency, and smile knowingly at the mavericks within the faculty who want the administration to take democracy seriously.
- 2008, Simon Singh; Edzard Ernst, “How Do You Determine the Truth?”, in Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial, [London]: Transworld Publishers, →ISBN, pages 36–37:
- Florence Nightingale would have been perceived as a maverick during her early career, because she was prioritizing hygiene when everybody else involved in healthcare was focused on other things, such as surgery and pills.
- (military) A person in the military who became an officer by going to college while on active duty as an enlisted person.
- 2013, John T. Kuehn, “The Navy, Treaties, and Innovation”, in Agents of Innovation: The General Board and the Design of the Fleet that Defeated the Japanese Navy, Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, →ISBN, page 9:
- They had been working for and with each other for a very long period and their tolerance for “mavericks” was very high, especially if these mavericks continued to get promoted.
- (poker slang) A queen and a jack as a starting hand in Texas hold 'em.
- (US) To take an unbranded range animal.
- 1887, A. M. Jackson; A. M. Jackson, Jr., Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Texas, Austin, Tx.: Hutchings Printing House, OCLC 5624120, page 514:
- The court permitted the State to prove, over defendant's objections, that Thedford met Noon Tucker and Calvery driving the yearling over to Bachelor's for delivery. Thedford inquired of Noon "if that [meaning the yearling] was one he had mavericked?"
- 1894 July, Alice MacGowan, “The Heraldry of the Plains”, in McClure’s Magazine, volume III, number 2, New York, N.Y.; London: S[amuel] S[idney] McClure, Limited, OCLC 945071892, page 115:
- For the capricious and uncertain favor of this the only marriageable young lady in the district, all the susceptible and unattached cowboys (of which class the population almost wholly consisted) strove together eagerly and without ceasing, mavericking right and left everything they could lay their hands on, with a running brand L I L, until, when the tenderfoot she had all along been engaged to came out and married her, she brought him great herds of L I L cattle, with which they gayly set up a ranch beneath the noses of the forlorn celibate community.
- (by extension) To seize without a legal claim.
- Michael Weisenberg, compiler (1999) The Official Dictionary of Poker, Inglewood, Calif.: Mike Caro University of Poker, →ISBN; Tom Dalzell (2012), “maverick”, in The Slang of Poker, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, →ISBN, page 155: “maverick / a queen and jack as the first two cards in a hold 'em hand.”