from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A military officer of the highest rank in some countries.
  • noun A field marshal.
  • noun An officer of the courts of the United States who performs various duties such as protecting judges, transporting prisoners, and apprehending fugitives.
  • noun A public official who performs various duties for the courts of a city, such as enforcing orders for money judgments or evictions.
  • noun The head of a police or fire department in the United States.
  • noun A person in charge of a parade or ceremony.
  • noun A high official in a royal court, especially one aiding the sovereign in military affairs.
  • intransitive verb To arrange or place (troops, for example) in line for a parade, maneuver, or review.
  • intransitive verb To arrange, place, or set in methodical order: synonym: arrange.
  • intransitive verb To enlist and organize.
  • intransitive verb To guide ceremoniously; conduct or usher.
  • intransitive verb To take up positions in a military formation.
  • intransitive verb To take form or order.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A common old spelling of martial as confused with marshal.
  • To dispose or set in order; arrange methodically; array.
  • Specifically— To draw up in battle array; review, as troops.
  • To order, as a procession.
  • To lead in a desired course; train; discipline.
  • To act as a marshal to; lead as harbinger or guide; usher.
  • In heraldry, to dispose (as more than one distinct coat of arms upon a shield) so as to form a single composition; group, as two or more distinct shields, so as to form a single composition; also, to associate (such accessories as the helm, mantling, crest, etc., and knightly and other insignia) with a shield of arms, thus again forming a single heraldic composition.
  • To arrange (the cars of a freight-train) in proper station order.
  • noun An officer charged with the duty of regulating processions and ceremonies, deciding on points of precedence, and maintaining order: applied generally to such officers throughout the middle ages and in more recent times, usually with some explanatory term: as, marshal of the palace; marshal of the lists.
  • noun A military officer of high rank, usually the highest under the chief of the state or the minister of war.
  • noun In the United States, a civil officer appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, in each judicial district, as the executive or administrative officer (corresponding to the sheriff of a county) for the United States Supreme Court, and for the circuit and district courts within his district.
  • noun An officer of any private society appointed to regulate its ceremonies and execute its orders.
  • noun In some universities, as in Cambridge, England, an officer attendant upon the chancellor or his deputy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Originally, an officer who had the care of horses; a groom.
  • noun An officer of high rank, charged with the arrangement of ceremonies, the conduct of operations, or the like.
  • noun One who goes before a prince to declare his coming and provide entertainment; a harbinger; a pursuivant.
  • noun One who regulates rank and order at a feast or any other assembly, directs the order of procession, and the like.
  • noun The chief officer of arms, whose duty it was, in ancient times, to regulate combats in the lists.
  • noun (France) The highest military officer.
  • noun (Am. Law) A ministerial officer, appointed for each judicial district of the United States, to execute the process of the courts of the United States, and perform various duties, similar to those of a sheriff. The name is also sometimes applied to certain police officers of a city.
  • noun the eighth officer of state; an honorary title, and personal, until made hereditary in the family of the Duke of Norfolk. During a vacancy in the office of high constable, the earl marshal has jurisdiction in the court of chivalry.
  • noun an officer who had command of the cavalry under the constable. This office was held by the family of Keith, but forfeited by rebellion in 1715.
  • noun formerly, in England, the marshal of the king's house, who was authorized to hear and determine all pleas of the Crown, to punish faults committed within the verge, etc. His court was called the Court of Marshalsea.
  • noun formerly the title of the officer who had the custody of the Queen's bench prison in Southwark.
  • transitive verb To dispose in order; to arrange in a suitable manner.
  • transitive verb To direct, guide, or lead.
  • transitive verb (Her.) To dispose in due order, as the different quarterings on an escutcheon, or the different crests when several belong to an achievement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A high-ranking officer in the household of a medieval prince or lord, who was originally in charge of the cavalry and later the military forces in general.
  • noun A military officer of the highest rank in several countries, including France and the former Soviet Union; equivalent to a general of the army in the United States. See also field marshal.
  • noun A person in charge of the ceremonial arrangement and management of a gathering.
  • noun US A federal lawman.
  • verb To arrange troops etc. in line for inspection or a parade.
  • verb by extension To arrange facts etc. in some methodical order.
  • verb To ceremoniously guide, conduct or usher.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French mareschal, of Germanic origin; see marko- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman marescal, marschal, Old French marescal, mareschal ("farrier; military commander"), from Late Latin mariscalcus ("groom, army commander, court dignitary"), either from Frankish *marhskalk, or from Old High German marah-scalc ("horse-servant"), from Proto-Germanic *marhaz + *skalkaz (whence Old Saxon maraskalk, marahscalc). Compare English mare + shalk.


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  • It is the ability, first, to make a choice, to evaluate the consequences of that chosen course of action, and to prize the outcomes, and then it is the capacity to marshal one’s energy in effective pursuit of the consequences or goals subtended by that choice.

    December 31, 2010