Student Dictionary

4 entries found for marshal.
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Main Entry: 1mar·shal
Pronunciation: primarystressmär-shschwal
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English marshal "a high officer in the king's household," from early French mareschal (same meaning), literally "horse servant"; of Germanic origin
1 a : a high official in a royal household in the Middle Ages b : a person who arranges and directs ceremonies or parades
2 : an officer of the highest rank in some military forces
3 a : a federal official having duties similar to those of a sheriff b : the head of a division of a city government <fire marshal>
Word History Although most French words come from Latin, some are the result of the Germanic occupation of France in the third century A.D. In early French the word mareschal, literally meaning "horse servant," was such a word. By the Middle English period, a mareschal in French was a high royal official. English borrowed the word to name a similar position in England. Much later, marshal was used in England as the title of a high-ranking military officer. It is because of this use that many people think the word is related to the word martial, meaning "relating to military affairs." But martial derives from the Latin name Mars, the god of war. It is only an accident that these two words came to be linked many centuries after they had entered English from different languages.

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