johnsu01 (johnsu01) wrote,


According to William Safire a while ago, the origins of the word maverick:

In the 1840s, Samuel Augustus Maverick was a Texas cattleman who refused to brand his cattle because he said it was cruel to the animals. Rather than hail him as a humane hero, his neighbors denounced him as a damned hypocrite because his kindness enabled him to lay claim to all the unbranded cattle that wandered onto his range. Lawsuits and shoot-’em-ups are said to have followed, but the result was a triumph of eponymy: the cattleman’s name, Maverick, became the word for an animal that bore nobody’s brand.

Tags: language, new york times, william safire
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