Definition of maximum in English:



  • 1[attributive] As great, high, or intense as possible or permitted.

    ‘the vehicle's maximum speed’
    ‘a maximum penalty of ten years' imprisonment’
    • ‘‘We wanted to support the market and gave them the maximum amount of money we could,’ she explained.’
    • ‘Although the light beam is traveling toward us at the maximum speed possible, it cannot keep up with the stretching of space.’
    • ‘We will have maximum amounts of anti-virals, but there are some things people aren't talking about.’
    • ‘You need to have specialized equipment, hot-water suits, so the divers can spend the maximum amount of time in the water.’
    • ‘Advisers urge families to pay in the maximum amount.’
    • ‘It lists options for rationing, such as increasing the price of petrol or putting a limit on the maximum amount motorists can buy.’
    • ‘And I suppose the perfect poem became something that had to contain the maximum amount of control - and of suffering.’
    • ‘The ritual a soldier goes through to fill a duffle with the maximum amount of gear is a wrestling match.’
    • ‘In any business transaction both sides want to pay as little as possible for the maximum possible return.’
    • ‘And this maximum possible speed is the velocity of light.’
    • ‘The Act further provided for a maximum penalty of ten years if the defendant caused great bodily injury and life imprisonment if the defendant caused death.’
    • ‘By doing this, you are pushing the house - getting a maximum return from a minimum investment!’
    • ‘This is a man who routinely plays the bare minimum 15 events on the PGA Tour so that he can spend the maximum amount of time at home with his wife and three children.’
    • ‘Of course we're in business, but we're not in the business of making a maximum amount of profit regardless of our professional obligations.’
    • ‘However, he stressed that even with that it would appear that whoever is responsible is going out of their way to commit the maximum amount of damage.’
    • ‘Soon, everyone attains the maximum level of comfort achievable - until the next stop where a passenger gets off.’
    • ‘Cleaners could alert the front desk as soon as a room is ready - allowing the hotel the maximum amount of time to sell that room to a customer.’
    • ‘Under this plan, the average longevity of a genus is halfway between the minimum and the maximum possible.’
    • ‘Both demand a maximum amount of creativity from those on the show.’
    • ‘These solutions allow a company's assets to realize the maximum possible return on investment.’
    greatest, highest, biggest, largest, top, topmost, most, utmost, supreme, maximal, paramount, extreme
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Denoting the greatest or highest point or amount attained.
      ‘the maximum depth of the pool is 6 feet’


  • 1The greatest amount, extent, or intensity possible, permitted, or recorded.

    ‘the school takes a maximum of 32 pupils’
    ‘production levels are near their maximum’
    • ‘Each of these three ranges is divided by 19 to obtain 20 equally divided values from the minimum to the maximum.’
    • ‘It has been a difficult season for Fletcher, one in which his mettle has been tested to the maximum.’
    • ‘It is precisely in these circumstances that students need to engage their cognitive systems to the maximum.’
    • ‘The requirement to resign was replaced by the sanction of a fine to the maximum permitted under the regulations.’
    • ‘Ulysses circles the Sun in just over six years, which is roughly the time it takes the Sun to go from the minimum to the maximum of its activity cycle.’
    • ‘It is common for families to run themselves up to the maximum on a stack of different cards.’
    • ‘Set the pulleys at shoulder height, and load up the weight stacks to the maximum.’
    • ‘Thus one does not end up paying undue interest and also makes use of the credit facility to the maximum.’
    • ‘Once found, he jammed his earphones in and cranked up the volume to the maximum.’
    • ‘The enrollment increased to the maximum of 40 children per class within just a few weeks.’
    • ‘However, the country has never managed to use the quota to the maximum.’
    • ‘The last passenger must have deafened himself by turning the volume up to the maximum!’
    • ‘In the meantime we will all be carrying on our activities to the maximum possible within the law.’
    • ‘It is a very unusual piece of theatre in the sense that it extends the boundaries and possibilities of theatre to the maximum.’
    • ‘They will hope to recoup it, and then some, by exploiting their recruit to the maximum.’
    • ‘It can boost our body's temperature to the maximum to coincide with the demands of the day.’
    • ‘The student has performed to the maximum of their ability and has been rewarded accordingly.’
    • ‘Of that amount, a maximum of 30 percent may be covered by new production.’
    • ‘Whilst farmers now produce to the maximum - 18m tons - the EU consumes 12.5m tons a year.’
    • ‘Efficiency is defined as the ratio of the observed level of attainment of a goal to the maximum that could have been achieved with the observed resources.’
    upper limit, limit, utmost, uttermost, greatest, most, extreme, extremity, peak, height, ceiling, top, summit, pinnacle, crest, apex, vertex, apogee, acme, zenith
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A maximum permitted custodial sentence for an offence.
      ‘an offence which carries a maximum of 14 years’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These offences will carry a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine.’
      • ‘If found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum of sixteen months in jail.’
      • ‘A life sentence generally means a maximum of 25 years in jail.’
      • ‘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.

    ‘the table has a length of 4 feet maximum’
    • ‘Since then only a few scientists, scholars or art historians per day were allowed in for several hours maximum.’
    • ‘That's the amendment that keeps a president from being in office for more than two terms - eight years maximum.’
    • ‘They said the whole assessment process was supposed to take nine months maximum and people were left waiting years by the social workers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, this was supposed to be five days maximum and we're into day eight and still no clear sign of when this is going to wrap up.’


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