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Etymology "Marshal" is an ancient loanword from Old (Norman) French (cf. modern French maréchal), which in turn is borrowed from Old Frankish *marhskalk (="stable boy, keeper, servant"), being still evident in Middle Dutch maerscalc, marscal, and in modern Dutch maarschalk (="military chief commander"; the meaning influenced by the French use).

It is cognate with Old High German mar(ah)-scalc "id.", modern German (Feld-)Marschall (="military chief commander"; again, the meaning influenced by the French use).<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

It originally and literally meant "horse servant", from Germanic *marha- "horse" (cf. English mare and modern German Mähre, meaning "horse of bad quality") and skalk- "servant" (cf. Old Engl. scealc "servant, soldier" and outdated German Schalk, meaning "high-ranking servant").<ref>Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, Leipzig 1854–1960, Vol. 12 Col. 1673 Online-Version</ref> This "horse servant" origin is retained in the current French name for farrier: maréchal-ferrant.

The late Roman and Byzantine title of comes stabuli ("count of the stables") was adopted as a Latin analogue, which has become the French connétable and, derived from the French, the English word constable.


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