Word of the Day : August 24, 2018

marshal

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noun MAR-shul

Definition

1 a : 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

2 a : field marshal

b : a general officer of the highest military rank

3 a : an officer having charge of prisoners

b : a ministerial 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

c : a city law officer entrusted with particular duties

d : the administrative head of a city police department or fire department

Did You Know?

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

The marshal confirmed that the house fires were arson and were likely set by the same person.

"On the first day, … the guy I was playing with ricocheted his ball off a tree and into a swamp. Lost ball. Except that when we get up there, the guy … says, 'Got it! Here it is!' and points down to a ball in the rough. I said, 'There's no way that's your ball. I watched it go into the swamp.' Even the marshal standing there agreed with me…." — Raymond Floyd, quoted in Golf Digest, June 2018



Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete a noun that is related to Old High German scalc, meaning "servant," and refers to a steward in charge of a lord's estate in feudal times: s _ n _ s _ h _ l.

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