Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for April 7, 2020 is:

maverick • MAV-rik  • noun

1 : an unbranded range animal; especially : a motherless calf
2 : an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party


“‘My record company wanted more of “The River & The Thread” but I couldn’t do it,’ she said. ‘It seemed false. So I went in another direction.’ It’s not surprising for [Rosanne] Cash, who has been a maverick during her lengthy career, to go another way.” — Ed Condran, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), 6 Feb. 2020

Audubon, a naturalist, artist, hunter, showman, and conservationist, was a maverick in his day, and his legacy has come to mean the very heart of bird conservation.” — The Pontiac (Illinois) Daily Leader, 8 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

When a client gave Samuel A. Maverick 400 cattle to settle a $1,200 debt, the 19th-century south Texas lawyer had no use for them, so he left the cattle unbranded and allowed them to roam freely (supposedly under the supervision of one of his employees). Neighboring stockmen recognized their opportunity and seized it, branding and herding the stray cattle as their own. Maverick eventually recognized the folly of the situation and sold what was left of his depleted herd, but not before his name became synonymous with such unbranded livestock. By the end of the 19th century, the term maverick was being used to refer to individuals who prefer to blaze their own trails.

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