The word maverick can mean two things. In the world of pundits and politics, it describes a person who operates independently and in an unorthodox manner (this can be either an adjective or a noun). Alternatively, in the world of ranching, it can mean an unbranded calf. So a maverick maverick is an unorthodox, unbranded, young cow. Surprisingly, both of these words come from the same place, and neatly tie together. They're named after Samuel Augustus Maverick, a Texan lawyer and landowner who was too lazy to brand his cattle. Everybody thought this controversially pioneering decision was awfully courageous, and soon afterwards his last name came to be applied to both independently minded people and cows like his. A maverick can also mean a starting hand of a jack and a queen in the poker variant Texas Hold 'Em, and that was named after the TV show Maverick, about a poker player called Bret Maverick. His last name probably had something to do with the "unorthodox" definition, so we've come full circle.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.