Word Origin & History
"seizure by way of reprisal," 1447, in letters of marque "official permission to capture enemy merchant ships," from Anglo-Fr. mark (1354), from O.Prov. marca "reprisal," from marcar "seize as a pledge, mark," probably from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. marchon "delimit, mark;" see
(1)), but the sense evolution is difficult.