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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.] [1913 Webster] 1. An established principle or proposition; a condensed proposition of important practical truth; an axiom of practical wisdom; an adage; a proverb; an aphorism. [1913 Webster] 'T is their maxim, Love is love's reward. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. (Mus.) The longest note formerly used, equal to two longs, or four breves; a large. [1913 Webster] Syn: Axiom; aphorism; apothegm; adage; proverb; saying. See Axiom. [1913 Webster]