- marshal (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" (compare Old High German marahscalc "groom," Middle Dutch maerschalc), from Proto-Germanic *markhaz "horse" (see mare (1)) + *skalkaz "servant" (source of 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, compare constable. Also from Germanic are Italian scalco "steward," Spanish mariscal "marshal."
- marshal (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.