Discovery of the Week: Etymology of ‘Maverick’

So I was reading this book by Philip Gooden, which is a bit dry but also interesting. One fact I did remember from it is that the word `maverick’ – a lone dissenter or rebel, someone who does their own thing without much regard for the rules or other people – came from the name of Samuel Maverick.

Samuel Maverick lived in Texas in the 1800s. He was a cattle owner (along with a lot of other things) and he refused to brand his cattle, which was a standard means of identifying any animals found wandering around. He said it was to avoid inflicting pain on the animals; the neighbouring cattle ranchers thought it was so that he could claim any unbranded cattle found in the area; but the most likely reason (according to Wikipedia) is that he wasn’t a professional rancher and didn’t really care all that much about whether he kept all his livestock or not.

The original Maverick
The original Maverick
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