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See also: Marshal


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English marschal, from Anglo-Norman mareschal (farrier; military commander), from Medieval Latin mariscalcus (groom, army commander, court dignitary), either from Frankish *marhaskalk[1], or Old High German marah-scalc (horse-servant)[2], from Proto-Germanic *marhaz + *skalkaz (whence Old Saxon maraskalk, marahscalc). Compare English mare + shalk.



marshal (plural marshals)

  1. (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.
  2. 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.
    • 1936, H. Hessell Tiltman, The Far East Comes Nearer[1], Jarrolds, page 249:
      Where stands Marshal Chiang Kai-shek in this conflict of opinion concerning the tactics which China should adopt towards the aggressor? Chiang Kai-shek, according to officials who know his mind with whom I have talked, is all for resistance- as soon as he thinks he can win!
  3. A person in charge of the ceremonial arrangement and management of a gathering.
  4. (US) A federal lawman.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Malay: marsyal



marshal (third-person singular simple present marshals, present participle marshalling or marshaling, simple past and past participle marshalled or marshaled)

  1. To arrange (troops, etc.) in line for inspection or a parade.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[2]:
      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.
  2. (by extension) To arrange (facts, etc.) in some methodical order.
    • 1963 December, “The fish traffic of Aberdeen”, in Modern Railways, page 389:
      This train is formed only of "Blue Spot" wagons for London; vans for Mac Fisheries Finsbury Park depot are marshalled at the rear to be detached at Finsbury Park.
  3. To ceremoniously guide, conduct or usher.
  4. To gather data for transmission.
  5. (computing, transitive) To serialize an object into a marshalled state represented by a sequence of bytes that can later be converted back into an object with equivalent properties.



Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “marshal”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ marshal”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.

Further reading[edit]