Definition of maximum in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmaksəməm/


1As great, high, or intense as possible or permitted: the vehicle’s maximum speed a maximum penalty of ten years' imprisonment
More example sentences
  • And this maximum possible speed is the velocity of light.
  • Although the light beam is traveling toward us at the maximum speed possible, it cannot keep up with the stretching of space.
  • Under this plan, the average longevity of a genus is halfway between the minimum and the maximum possible.
1.1Denoting the greatest or highest point or amount attained: the maximum depth of the pool is 6 feet

noun (plural maxima /-mə/ or maximums)

1The greatest or highest amount possible or attained: the school takes a maximum of 32 students production levels are near their maximum
More example sentences
  • In the meantime we will all be carrying on our activities to the maximum possible within the law.
  • It can boost our body's temperature to the maximum to coincide with the demands of the day.
  • Whilst farmers now produce to the maximum - 18m tons - the EU consumes 12.5m tons a year.
upper limit, limit, utmost, uttermost, greatest, most, extremity, peak, height, ceiling, top, apex
informal max
1.1A maximum permitted prison sentence for an offense: an offense that carries a maximum of 14 years
More example sentences
  • These offences will carry a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine.
  • A trial will now take place at Swindon Magistrates' Court, where they have the power to sentence people to a maximum of 12 months imprisonment.
  • Anyone (even a member of the family) that hampers an autopsy should face a sentence of a maximum of nine months in prison.


At the most: it has a length of 4 feet maximum
More example sentences
  • We'll be there for maybe four, five weeks maximum, and we've had to spend nearly probably seven weeks all up getting there and getting back again on the ship.
  • They said the whole assessment process was supposed to take nine months maximum and people were left waiting years by the social workers.
  • Since then only a few scientists, scholars or art historians per day were allowed in for several hours maximum.


Mid 17th century (as a noun): from modern Latin, neuter (used as a noun) of the Latin adjective maximus, superlative of magnus 'great'. The adjective use dates from the early 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: max·i·mum

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