mar·​shal | \ ˈmär-shəl How to pronounce marshal (audio) \
variants: or less commonly marshall

Definition of marshal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a high official in the household of a medieval king, prince, or noble originally having charge of the cavalry but later usually in command of the military forces
b : a person who arranges and directs the ceremonial aspects of a gathering a parade marshal
b : a general officer of the highest military rank
3a : an officer having charge of prisoners
b(1) : a ministerial (see ministerial sense 3) officer appointed for a judicial district (as of the U.S.) to execute the process of the courts and perform various duties similar to those of a sheriff
(2) : a city law officer entrusted with particular duties
c : the administrative head of a city police department or fire department


variants: or less commonly marshall
marshaled or marshalled; marshaling or marshalling\ ˈmärsh-​(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce marshal (audio) \

Definition of marshal (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to place in proper rank or position marshaling the troops
2 : to bring together and order in an appropriate or effective way marshal arguments marshaled her thoughts before answering the question
3 : to lead ceremoniously or solicitously : usher marshaling her little group of children down the street

intransitive verb

: to take form or order ideas marshaling neatly

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Other Words from marshal


marshalcy \ ˈmär-​shəl-​sē How to pronounce marshal (audio) \ noun
marshalship \ ˈmär-​shəl-​ˌship How to pronounce marshal (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for marshal

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for marshal


order, arrange, marshal, organize, systematize, methodize mean to put persons or things into their proper places in relation to each other. order suggests a straightening out so as to eliminate confusion. ordered her business affairs arrange implies a setting in sequence, relationship, or adjustment. arranged the files numerically marshal suggests gathering and arranging in preparation for a particular operation or effective use. marshaling the facts for argument organize implies arranging so that the whole aggregate works as a unit with each element having a proper function. organized the volunteers into teams systematize implies arranging according to a predetermined scheme. systematized billing procedures methodize suggests imposing an orderly procedure rather than a fixed scheme. methodizes every aspect of daily living

Marshal Has Old German Roots

Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few—among them marshal—are Germanic. In the last centuries of the Roman Empire, the Germanic Franks occupied what is now France and left behind a substantial linguistic legacy, including what became medieval French mareschal. Mareschal came from a Frankish compound noun corresponding to Old High German marahscal, composed of marah, meaning "horse" (Old English mearh, with a feminine form mere, whence English mare), and scalc, meaning "servant" (Old English scealc). The original marshal was a servant in charge of horses, but by the time the word was borrowed from French into English in the 14th century, it referred primarily to a high royal official.

Examples of marshal in a Sentence

Verb She carefully marshaled her thoughts before answering the question. marshaled their forces for battle
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an internal investigation by the marshal of the Court, and former Attorney General Bill Barr has suggested that a criminal probe may be warranted. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 6 May 2022 Those plans changed when the cruise ship rerouted to Bimini, though, to evade being seized by a US marshal. Courtney Vinopal, Quartz, 24 Jan. 2022 After nearly four years, Chicago finally has a new permanent U.S. marshal. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 Matthew Brown is a deputy fire marshal who lives in Milford, Delaware. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 26 Apr. 2022 Simmons told a deputy U.S. marshal that someone must have been trying to frame him and provided a cheek swab that ruled him out as a suspect, the FBI said. Sun Sentinel, 18 Apr. 2022 The state fire marshal’s office, and local representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were also notified of the incident., 2 Feb. 2022 The state fire marshal’s office is assisting River Grove fire department officials in determining the cause of a Sunday blaze that broke out in the gymnasium in the long-vacant Holy Cross High School building, 8009 Belmont Avenue. Deborah Kadin,, 10 May 2021 Overlooking the gathering from a nearby hill, Dustin Zamboni, fire marshal at the Salt River Fire Department, said to The Arizona Republic that the mood at the funeral was somber. Brock Blasdell, The Arizona Republic, 16 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the former prime minister is widely expected to try to marshal his party loyalists — and there are many, still galvanized by his stated platform of fighting corruption and helping the poor — in elections expected this fall. New York Times, 10 Apr. 2022 It was renewed annually until last July, when the coalition failed to marshal the votes and the ban expired. Abbas Al Lawati And Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 14 Mar. 2022 In 1986, Greiman helped marshal through the General Assembly the $120 million funding by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority for a new stadium for the Chicago White Sox. Bob Goldsborough,, 11 Mar. 2022 Kalulu and Tomori took turns to superbly marshal Victor Osimhen, whom many consider the best striker in the league, with both players matching Osimhen for pace. Emmet Gates, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Some kidney damage is reversible; kidney cells can marshal their repair mechanisms to heal harm caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, or harsh medications like chemotherapy. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, 5 Mar. 2022 Analysts point to high turnover rates among blue-collar workers, which stymie efforts to marshal union support. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2022 The America250 Foundation was created, in part, to marshal private-sector support for the Semiquincentennial. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 7 Mar. 2022 Nearer term, Chinese officials may step up efforts to marshal regional opposition to the submarine plan and the new security grouping, called AUKUS, for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States., 21 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marshal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of marshal


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for marshal

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French mareschal, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German marahscalc marshal, from marah horse + scalc servant

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Time Traveler for marshal

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The first known use of marshal was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near marshal



Marshal's court

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Marshal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for marshal


mar·​shal | \ ˈmär-shəl How to pronounce marshal (audio) \

Kids Definition of marshal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who arranges and directs ceremonies a parade marshal
2 : an officer of the highest rank in some military forces
3 : a federal official having duties similar to those of a sheriff
4 : the head of a division of a city government fire marshal


marshaled or marshalled; marshaling or marshalling

Kids Definition of marshal (Entry 2 of 2)

: to arrange in order marshal troops


mar·​shal | \ ˈmär-shəl \

Legal Definition of marshal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ministerial officer appointed for each judicial district of the U.S. to execute the process of the courts and perform various duties similar to those of a sheriff
2 : a law officer in some cities (as New York) of the U.S. who is entrusted with particular duties (as serving the process of justice of the peace courts)
3 : the administrative head of the police or especially fire department in some cities of the U.S.


transitive verb
variants: also marshall
marshaled also marshalled; marshaling also marshalling

Legal Definition of marshal (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fix the order of (assets) with respect to liability or availability for payment of obligations also : to fix the order of (as liens or remedies) with respect to priority against a debtor's assets — see also marshaling

More from Merriam-Webster on marshal

Nglish: Translation of marshal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of marshal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about marshal


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