1802, in military writing, to describe a very tight style of mass marching, from lock (n.1) + step (n.).
Lock-step. A mode of marching by a body of men going one after another as closely as possible, in which the leg of each moves at the same time with and closely follows the corresponding leg of the person directly before him. [Thomas Wilhelm, "Military Dictionary and Gazetteer," Philadelphia, 1881]
Figurative use by 1836.
"act of marching;" 1580s, "a measured and uniform walk; a regular advance of a body of persons in which they keep time with each other," from march (v.) or else from French marche (n.), from marcher (v.). As "an advance from one halting place to another," also the distance so covered, from 1590s.
The musical sense of "strongly rhythmic composition" is attested from c. 1600, from the earlier meaning "rhythmic drumbeat for marching" (1570s). The earliest sense of the word in English is "footprint, track" (early 15c.), from a sense in Old French. Transferred sense of "forward motion" (as in march of progress, etc.) is from 1620s.
"to walk with measured steps or a regular tread," either individually or as a body, early 15c., from Old French marcher "to stride, march, walk," originally "to trample, tread underfoot," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Frankish *markon or some other Germanic source related to Middle English march (n.) "borderland" (see march (n.2)). Or possibly from Gallo-Roman *marcare, from Latin marcus "hammer," via notion of "tramping the feet."
The transitive meaning "cause to march, cause to move in military order" is from 1590s. Sense of "cause (someone) to go (somewhere) at one's command" is by 1884. Related: Marched; marching. Marching band is attested by 1852. Italian marciare, Spanish marchar are said to be from French.
1806, originally a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth." This, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking. In reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916. As a verb by 1854.
1590s, in reference to the horizontal and vertical lines of soldiers marching in formation, from rank (n.) in the military sense of "number of soldiers drawn up in a line abreast" (1570s) + file (n.1). Thence generalized to "common soldiers" (1796) and "common people, general body" of any group (1860).
late Old English, "set of persons walking or riding formally or with ceremonious solemnity; a religious procession; the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem," from Old French procession "procession" (religious or secular), 11c., and directly from Late Latin processionem (nominative processio) "religious procession," in classical Latin "a marching onward, a going forward, advance," noun of action from past-participle stem of procedere (see proceed). Meaning "act of issuing forth" from anything is late 14c. Related: Processionary.
also sometimes hubba-hubba-hubba, a U.S. slang cry of excitement or enthusiasm, noted in early 1946 as a vogue phrase among teenagers and "one of the most widely used expressions emerging from the war" [The Y News, March 21, 1946]. It served as "a refined wolf call, or merely to express approval, approbation, or exultation" [Twin Falls, Idaho, Times News, May 5, 1946, quoting Hartford Courant].
Contemporary sources traced it variously to the U.S. Army Air Forces and the phrase sometimes is said to be from an Asian language. Another suggested origin is the drill instructor's repeated hup! to keep his soldiers marching in rhythm. Hubba and hubba-hubba appear in an armed forces publication from 1944 over photographs of soldiers marching or drilling. A column in the official service journal "Air Force" for September 1943 mentions "the old cadet war-cry, 'Habba Habba.' "
Hubba! also is noted by 1905 as a call used at sea by Cornish fishermen when sighting a school of pilchard, and haba-haba is attested as circus term for a sort of side-man for an artist working a crowd (1924). Haba Haba also figures in a 1925 poem-chorus of suggestive nonsense phrases.
"the common people of a community, the multitude; persons not distinguished by rank, education, office, or profession," 1570s, from French populace (16c.), from Italian popolaccio "riffraff, rabble," from popolo "people" (from Latin populus "people;" see people (n.)) + pejorative suffix -accio.
That vast portion, lastly, of the working class which, raw and half-developed, has long lain half hidden amidst its poverty and squalor, and is now issuing from its hiding-place to assert an Englishman's heaven-born privilege of doing as he likes, and is beginning to perplex us by marching when it likes, meeting where it likes, bawling what it likes, breaking what it likes — to this vast residuum we may with great propriety give the name of Populace. [Matthew Arnold, "Culture and Anarchy," 1869]
"an organized group," originally especially of armed men, late 15c., from French bande, which is traceable to the Proto-Germanic root of band (n.1), perhaps via a band of cloth worn as a mark of identification by a group of soldiers or others (compare Gothic bandwa "a sign"). But perhaps it is rather from Middle English band, bond in the sense "force that unites, bond, tie" (late 14c.). Also compare Old Norse band "cord that binds; act of binding," also "confederacy."
The extension to "group of musicians" is c. 1660, originally musicians attached to a regiment of the army and playing instruments which may be used while marching. To beat the band (1897) is to make enough noise to drown it out, hence to exceed everything. One-man band is recorded by 1931 in the sense of "man who plays several musical instruments simultaneously;" the figurative extension is attested by 1938.