Definition of marshal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmärSHəl/


1An officer of the highest rank in the armed forces of some countries, including France.
Example sentences
  • Now, fully half of Napoleon's marshals had started their careers as common soldiers.
  • Now, half of Napoleon's marshals had once been common soldiers.
  • In 1935 officers' ranks were re-established, including the rank of marshal for the top five commanders.
1.1chiefly historical A high-ranking officer of state.
Example sentences
  • He was a marshal there from 1652 to 1661, and Deputy Magistrate from 1661 to 1664.
2US A federal or municipal law officer.
Example sentences
  • Federal marshals estimated that the birdmen, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, killed thousands of birds over a five-year span.
  • Federal marshals are guarding overseas flights, and state troopers are patrolling trains.
  • However, when the justices travel around the country, they are sometimes protected by federal marshals rather than Supreme Court cops.
2.1The head of a police department.
Example sentences
  • They were refused entry to the tavern and immediately went to the Canton Station in search of the Police Marshal.
2.2North American The head of a fire department.
Example sentences
  • As building inspectors, fire marshals and riot police rally against them, the squatters continue to fight for decent shelter and survival.
  • The authority for fire regulations for each state is governed either by the fire marshal or the state department of health.
  • A local fire department or state fire marshal's office can provide guidance on the minimum legal requirements.
3An official responsible for supervising public events, especially sports events or parades.
Example sentences
  • More than 400 people will be supporting the event, many being reunited after working as marshals during the Commonwealth Games.
  • Surveys show that drivers and the public all want marshals and someone has to pay.
  • They appoint their own marshals, who control the annual get-together.

verb (marshals, marshaling, marshaled ; chiefly British marshals, marshalling, marshalled)

[with object]
1Arrange or assemble (a group of people, especially soldiers) in order: the general marshaled his troops figurative he paused for a moment, as if marshaling his thoughts
More example sentences
  • He recruited and marshalled the troops and issued their orders.
  • Behind his affable, bluff demeanour and disingenuous screen image, one senses he is the master of all he surveys, not quite the lone reporter, rather a general marshalling an army of researchers.
  • He scored 41 runs, took a diving catch and put in a tight bowling spell - and generally marshalled his troops effectively throughout.
assemble, gather (together), collect, muster, call together, draw up, line up, align, array, organize, group, arrange, deploy, position, order, dispose;
mobilize, rally, round up
1.1 [with object] Correctly position or arrange (rolling stock).
Example sentences
  • The time frame to switch out these many local jobs and marshal the outbound train was tight and required precision work in a small yard.
  • Soon this type of locomotive proved too light for the heavy trains that were being marshalled and were eventually assigned to lighter work, shunting scrap and ingot buggies.
  • The site also has a secure hard stacking and truck marshalling area.
1.2 [with object] Guide or direct the movement of (an aircraft) on the ground at an airport.
Example sentences
  • As they marshaled the aircraft to its final parking spot, the number three brake became engulfed in flames.
  • A reflective vest provides increased visibility needed during aircraft marshalling that allows safe flightline operations.
  • After being marshalled in, Matt cut the engine.
2 Heraldry Combine (coats of arms), typically to indicate marriage, descent, or the bearing of office.
Example sentences
  • However, they were often infringed when two or more different arms were combined (or marshaled) within one shield and two tinctures that should in principle not touch each other necessarily became adjacent.
  • Thus, when more than one different coat of arm is marshaled on a shield, through descent from heraldic heiresses, it was placed 'quarterly'.
  • The insignia of an order or decoration should not be displayed with a shield on which the arms of two spouses are marshaled, because the honor is specific to the person to whom it was granted, not to his or her spouse.



Example sentences
  • He is working as an aircraft marshaller at the city's airport alongside personnel from Canada, Germany and the United States.
  • Soon, car marshallers from the nearby assembly plant began independently parking their newly manufactured Mustangs in the test lot.
  • The workers involved include firefighters, security staff, engineers, clerical staff and airfield marshallers.


Pronunciation: /-ˌSHip/
Example sentences
  • The title carried with it the hereditary marshalship of Scotland.
  • And after that they spoke only of the future, when the first period of his Marshalship should be over and he should be free to take his bride back to the fields and woods of Ivarsdale, and the gray old Tower on the hill.
  • She was given a marshallship of her duchies army because she made good tactical recommendations and talked to her duke regularly.


Middle English (denoting a high-ranking officer of state): from Old French mareschal 'blacksmith, commander', from late Latin mariscalcus, from Germanic elements meaning 'horse' (compare with mare1) and 'servant'.

  • mare from Old English:

    Old English mearh ‘horse’, mere ‘mare’ are from a Germanic base with related words in Celtic languages meaning ‘stallion’. The sense ‘male horse’ died out at the end of the Middle English period. The same root lies behind marshal (Middle English), originally someone in charge of horses.

Words that rhyme with marshal

court-martial, impartial, martial, partial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mar·shal

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