mar·​tial | \ ˈmär-shəl How to pronounce martial (audio) \

Definition of martial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior martial music a martial tone of voice— Tim Appelo martial prowess
2 : relating to an army or to military life martial discipline stories of martial tradition— Ewen Macaskill
3 : experienced in or inclined to war : warlike its martial people fought the British to a standstill— Mary Anne Weaver


biographical name
Mar·​tial | \ ˈmär-shəl How to pronounce Martial (audio) \

Definition of Martial (Entry 2 of 2)

circa a.d. 40–circa 103 Marcus Valerius Martialis Roman epigrammatist

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Other Words from martial


martially \ ˈmär-​shə-​lē How to pronounce martially (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for martial

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Martial and Roman Mythology

Mars was the Roman god of war and one of the patron gods of Rome itself. He was responsible for everything military, from warriors to weapons to marching music. Thus, martial arts are skills of combat and self-defense also practiced as sport. When martial law is declared, a country's armed forces take over the functions of the police. And a court-martial is a military court or trial.

Examples of martial in a Sentence

Adjective the marching band played “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and several other martial airs one of the basic tenets of martial law
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Back in 2013, the former mixed martial artist and special forces combat trainer purchased a second hand camera off Craigslist simply to document his road to recovery from two injured knees. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Macho vegans: The documentary that's changing the script on plant-based diets," 18 Dec. 2019 Hopefully, the master martial artist Tony Jaa can help take Monster Hunter to the next level. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The 2020 Sci-Fi Film Guide," 4 Dec. 2019 There is a memorial statue of the martial artist in Hong Kong, which is now caught up in massive protests against the Chinese government. Los Angeles Times, "China delays release of Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,’ but why?," 18 Oct. 2019 Netflix + Summit Entertainment + Universal PicturesUniversal Elaborately choreographed gun fights, masterful martial-arts set pieces, and fine-ass assassins get our adrenaline pumping. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best New Action Movies to Get You Fired Up," 15 Oct. 2019 Nick visited him there and learned the same advanced techniques, including martial-arts training, from defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Ron Kroichick,, "49ers’ Nick Bosa follows family footsteps on path to sacking quarterbacks," 6 Dec. 2019 An amateur mixed martial artist has died as a result of injuries sustained in a bout over the weekend. Mma Junkie Staff, MMA Junkie, "Amateur MMA fighter dies after bout in England," 18 Nov. 2019 Her fiance, a Taekwondo champion and martial-arts instructor, was shot in the head and shoulder. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "AZ lawmaker seeks public's help identifying shooter who paralyzed her 15 years ago," 10 Nov. 2019 With help from his sister and a friend, a martial-arts master travels to London to find his father’s murderer. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV for Oct. 6-12: ‘Throne of Blood’ and more," 4 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'martial.' 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 martial


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for martial


Middle English, from Latin martialis of Mars, from Mart-, Mars

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Time Traveler for martial

Time Traveler

The first known use of martial was in the 14th century

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Statistics for martial

Last Updated

29 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Martial.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for martial


How to pronounce Martial (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of martial

: of or relating to war or soldiers


mar·​tial | \ ˈmär-shəl How to pronounce martial (audio) \

Kids Definition of martial

: having to do with or suitable for war martial music martial courage

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Comments on martial

What made you want to look up martial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


experienced by way of someone else

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