From Middle English marchal, mareschal, marchall, from Anglo-Norman marescal, marschal and Old French marescal, mareschal (“farrier; military commander”), from Medieval 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.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈmɑːʃəl/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈmɑɹʃəl/
- Rhymes: -ɑː(ɹ)ʃəl
- Homophone: martial
marshal (plural marshals)
- (historical) 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.
- To arrange troops etc. in line for inspection or a parade.
- 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
- Nothing could be more business-like than the construction of the stout dams, and nothing more gently rural than the limpid lakes, with the grand old forest trees marshalled round their margins like a veteran army that had marched down to drink, only to be stricken motionless at the water’s edge.
- (by extension) To arrange facts etc. in some methodical order.
- To ceremoniously guide, conduct or usher.
- To gather data for transmission.