From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Maxim \Max"im\, n. [F. maxime, L. maxima (sc. sententia), the
   greatest sentence, proposition, or axiom, i. e., of the
   greatest weight or authority, fem. fr. maximus greatest,
   superl. of magnus great. See Magnitude, and cf. Maximum.]
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   1. An established principle or proposition; a condensed
      proposition of important practical truth; an axiom of
      practical wisdom; an adage; a proverb; an aphorism.
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            'T is their maxim, Love is love's reward. --Dryden.
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   2. (Mus.) The longest note formerly used, equal to two longs,
      or four breves; a large.
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   Syn: Axiom; aphorism; apothegm; adage; proverb; saying. See
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