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 Martial (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 The husband, believed to be a member of parliament, was trained in martial arts, according to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. Fox News, "Chilling video captures Russian dancer killed by masked assassin," 29 Dec. 2020 The new Plano recreation catalog has a mixture of free and affordable virtual and in-person classes that include crafts, fine arts, swimming, tennis, personal and professional development, music martial arts and fitness training. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Plano offers New Year’s tips for beating winter burnout, pandemic stress and fatigue," 28 Dec. 2020 Indoor basketball, soccer and water polo — as well as boxing, ice hockey, and martial arts among others — are in the yellow tier. Mitch Stephens,, "Coronavirus concerns push back return of high school sports to Jan. 25," 15 Dec. 2020 Most of all, the young demonstrators chafe at how conscription and other martial traditions are being used to try to create an orderly, obedient populace that hews to the military’s command. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Almost Like Clockwork, Talk of a Military Coup Follows Thai Protests," 2 Nov. 2020 The lists also include a Japanese anime series and a martial-arts movie from Hong Kong. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "What Netflix’s Lists of Top Foreign Movies and TV Series Say About American Taste," 10 Dec. 2020 Ashes of Time was a lackadaisical take on the martial-arts epic that pointedly denied audiences its usual satisfactions. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Wong Kar-wai’s Masterpieces of Political Uncertainty," 2 Dec. 2020 Nicolas Cage and Tony Jaa star in this fantasy about martial-arts masters defending Earth from alien invaders. Los Angeles Times Staff,, "Yes, Virginia, there are movies this holiday season. Here’s where to find them," 20 Nov. 2020 Capoeira dancer Gustavo Guru will perform the Brazilian mix of dance and martial arts, while New World School graduate Enrique Villacreses will do his own funk/contemporary solo. Jordan Levin,, "Broward Center’s ‘Men Who Dance’ challenges ideas of masculinity," 25 Nov. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Martial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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