a. A military officer of the highest rank in some countries.
b. A field marshal.
a. An officer of the courts of the United States who performs various duties such as protecting judges, transporting prisoners, and apprehending fugitives.
b. A public official who performs various duties for the courts of a city, such as enforcing orders for money judgments or evictions.
- The head of a police or fire department in the United States.
- A person in charge of a parade or ceremony.
- A high official in a royal court, especially one aiding the sovereign in military affairs.
verbmar·shaled, mar·shal·ing, mar·shals,
also mar·shalled mar·shal·ling
- To arrange or place (troops, for example) in line for a parade, maneuver, or review.
- To arrange, place, or set in methodical order: marshal facts in preparation for an exam. See Synonyms at arrange.
- To enlist and organize: trying to marshal public support.
- To guide ceremoniously; conduct or usher.
- To take up positions in a military formation.
- To take form or order: facts marshaling as research progressed.
Origin of marshal
Middle English from
Old French mareschal of Germanic origin
; see marko-
in Indo-European roots.
- mar′shal·cy mar′shal·ship′
The Germanic ancestor of Modern English marshal
is a compound made up of *marhaz,
“horse” (related to the source of our word mare
), and *skalkaz,
“servant,” meaning as a whole literally “horse servant,” hence “groom.” The Frankish descendant of this Germanic word, *marahskalk,
came to designate a high royal official and also a high military commander—not surprising given the importance of cavalry in medieval warfare. Along with many other Frankish words, *marahskalk
was borrowed into Old French as mareschal
in the early Middle Ages, when much of northern France was ruled by Frankish dynasties. Later, when the Normans established a French-speaking official class in England in the 11th century, the Old French term mareschal
came with them. In the first known uses of the word in documents written in England, marshal
was used with the meaning “farrier.” (It was also recorded as a surname, and in the spelling Marshall,
it still survives as such.) The word marshal
eventually began to be used in a wider variety of meanings in Middle English, as it had been in Old French, and the term was applied in Middle English to high-ranking officers of the royal court and the courts of law.
- A high-ranking officer in the household of a medieval prince or lord, who was originally in charge of the cavalry and later the military forces in general.
- A military officer of the highest rank in several countries, including France and the former Soviet Union; equivalent to a general of the army in the United States. See also field marshal.
- A person in charge of the ceremonial arrangement and management of a gathering.
- (US) A federal lawman.
(third-person singular simple present marshals, present participle marshalling or marshaling, simple past and past participle marshalled or marshaled)
- To arrange troops etc. in line for inspection or a parade.
- (by extension) To arrange facts etc. in some methodical order.
- To ceremoniously guide, conduct or usher.
- To gather data for transmission.
Anglo-Norman marescal, marschal, Old French marescal, mareschal (“farrier; military commander"), from Late Latin mariscalcus (“groom, army commander, court dignitary"), either from Frankish *marhskalk , or from Old High German marah-scalc (“horse-servant") , from Proto-Germanic *marhaz + *skalkaz (whence Old Saxon maraskalk, marahscalc). Compare English mare + shalk.
- An English and Scottish status surname for someone who was in charge of the horses of a royal household, or an occupational surname for someone who looked after horses, or was responsible for the custody of prisoners.
- A male given name, transferred use of the surname since nineteenth century.