n. pl. max·i·mums or max·i·ma (-mə)
a. The greatest possible quantity or degree.
b. The greatest quantity or degree reached or recorded; the upper limit of variation.
c. The time or period during which the highest point or degree is attained.
2. An upper limit permitted by law or other authority.
a. The moment when a variable star is most brilliant.
b. The magnitude of the star at such a moment.
a. The greatest value assumed by a function over a given interval.
b. The largest number in a set.
1. Having or being the greatest quantity or the highest degree that has been or can be attained: maximum temperature.
2. Of, relating to, or making up a maximum: a maximum number in a series.
[Latin, from neuter of maximus, greatest; see meg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.