What is a Maverick?
I've always been fascinated with language, mainly the use of words, hopefully, with one acquiring the skill to string words together that create just the right shading and nuance desired to fully express one's thoughts.
I've lived long enough to learn that as time passes, often the meanings of words, their etymology, changes from the original definition given.
To hear Mom tell it, I've been stringing words together since I was first born so, I guess, having an interest in their usage might be a natural occurrence.
But, I wandered off track. Maverick. My paperback Merriam-Webster lists as its first definition:
Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), American pioneer who did not brand his calves.
Answers.com expounds further and defines 'maverick' as:
n. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother.
From Tamu.edu:.... Maverick returned to San Antonio from the Matagorda Peninsula, he left herds of cattle ranging freely on the rugged coastland that were periodically rounded up, branded and driven to a family ranch near Floresville. It is believed that the term maverick referring to unidentified, unbranded cattle originated from the Maverick surname. Maverick died in 1870 and Maverick County, Texas is named in his honor.
I've learned that opinions vary as to why he shunned the practice. He was reported to have said he didn't want to be cruel to the animals. Neighbors of the time seemed to have had a different explanation.
Neighbors said he didn't brand his cattle so, when anyone saw any unmarked cattle roaming about, most would declare it must have been one of Samuel's or, in other words, a Maverick, allowing him to lay claim to them.
The word later evolved from meaning an unbranded range animal to be redefined to mean a nonconformist, one who goes against the crowd.
Who knew, I mean, about the cattle thing? I know I didn't! Of course, the evolution of the word 'maverick' is an odd one, since the animals themselves didn't initially rebel against being branded.
Well, maybe they did but, they haven't left us their accounts or thoughts on this matter.
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