1. a military officer of the highest rank, as in the French and some other armies.Compare field marshal.
  2. an administrative officer of a U.S. judicial district who performs duties similar to those of a sheriff.
  3. a court officer serving processes, attending court, giving personal service to the judges, etc.
  4. the chief of a police or fire department in some cities.
  5. a police officer in some communities.
  6. sky marshal.
  7. a higher officer of a royal household or court.
  8. an official charged with the arrangement or regulation of ceremonies, parades, etc.: the marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

verb (used with object), mar·shaled, mar·shal·ing or (especially British) mar·shalled, mar·shal·ling.

  1. to arrange in proper order; set out in an orderly manner; arrange clearly: to marshal facts; to marshal one’s arguments.
  2. to array, as for battle.
  3. to usher or lead ceremoniously: Their host marshaled them into the room.
  4. Heraldry. to combine (two or more coats of arms) on a single escutcheon.


  1. (in some armies and air forces) an officer of the highest rank
  2. (in England) an officer, usually a junior barrister, who accompanies a judge on circuit and performs miscellaneous secretarial duties
  3. (in the US)
    1. a Federal court officer assigned to a judicial district whose functions are similar to those of a sheriff
    2. (in some states) the chief police or fire officer
  4. an officer who organizes or conducts ceremonies, parades, etc
  5. Also called: knight marshal (formerly in England) an officer of the royal family or court, esp one in charge of protocol
  6. an obsolete word for ostler

verb -shals, -shalling or -shalled or US -shals, -shaling or -shaled (tr)

  1. to arrange in orderto marshal the facts
  2. to assemble and organize (troops, vehicles, etc) prior to onward movement
  3. to arrange (assets, mortgages, etc) in order of priority
  4. to guide or lead, esp in a ceremonious way
  5. to combine (two or more coats of arms) on one shield

v.early 15c., “to tend (horses),” from marshal (n.). Meaning “to arrange, place in order” is from mid-15c.; that of “to arrange for fighting” is from mid-15c. Figurative use by 1690s. Related: Marshaled; marshaling. n.early 13c. as a surname; mid-13c. as “high officer of the royal court;” from Old French mareschal “commanding officer of an army; officer in charge of a household” (Modern French maréchal), originally “stable officer, horse tender, groom” (Frankish Latin mariscaluis) from Frankish *marhskalk or a similar Germanic word, literally “horse-servant” (cf. Old High German marahscalc “groom,” Middle Dutch maerschalc), from Proto-Germanic *markhaz “horse” (see mare (1)) + *skalkaz “servant” (cf. Old English scealc “servant, retainer, member of a crew,” Dutch schalk “rogue, wag,” Gothic skalks “servant”). Cognate with Old English horsþegn. From c.1300 as “stable officer;” early 14c. as “military commander, general in the army.” For development history, cf. constable. Also from Germanic are Italian scalco “steward,” Spanish mariscal “marshal.”

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