field marshal

field marshal

noun
an officer of the highest military rank in the British and certain other armies, and of the second highest rank in the French army.

Origin:
1570–80

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World English Dictionary
field marshal
 
n
an officer holding the highest rank in the British and certain other armies

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

field marshal

in some past and present armies, including those of Britain, France, Germany, Russia or the Soviet Union, and China, the highest ranking officer. The rank evolved from the title of marescalci (masters of the horse) of the early Frankish kings. The importance of cavalry in medieval warfare led to the marshalship being associated with a command position; this rank came to include the duties of keeping order at court and in camp and of deciding questions of chivalry. As a military leader the marshal was originally subordinate to the constable in the various states of western Europe. By the 13th century, however, the marshal was rapidly coming to prominence as a commander of the royal forces and a great officer of state

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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