mid-15c., marshalen, "to tend (horses)," also "to arrange, place in order;" "arrange (soldiers) for fighting," from marshal (n.). Figurative use is by 1690s. Related: Marshaled; marshaling.
mid-13c., "high officer of the royal court," charged with regulating ceremonies and maintaining order (early 13c. as a surname), 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).
This is from a Proto-Germanic compound of *markhaz "horse" (see mare (n.1)) + *skalkaz "servant" (source of Old English scealc "servant, retainer, member of a crew," Dutch schalk "rogue, wag," Gothic skalks "servant"). It corresponds to Old English horsþegn.
From early 14c. as "military commander, general in the army." In the U.S., a civil officer appointed by the president (with advice and consent of the Senate) in each judicial district as the executive officer of the Supreme Court and the federal courts in his district. For sense development and the tendency of officers of the stable to become chief officers of royal households, compare constable. Also from Germanic are Italian scalco "steward," Spanish mariscal "marshal."
c. 1200, "chief household officer;" c. 1300, "justice of the peace," from Old French conestable (12c., Modern French connétable), "steward, governor," principal officer of the Frankish king's household, from Medieval Latin conestabulus, from Late Latin comes stabuli, literally "count of the stable" (established by Theodosian Code, c. 438 C.E.), hence, "chief groom."
For first element, see count (n.1). Second element is from Latin stabulum "stable, standing place" (see stable (n.)). Probably the whole is a loan-translation of a Germanic word. Compare marshal (n.).
Meaning "an officer chosen to serve minor legal process" is from c. 1600, transferred to "police officer" by 1836. French reborrowed constable 19c. as "English police."
"female of the horse or any other equine animal," Old English meare, also mere (Mercian), myre (West Saxon), fem. of mearh "horse," from Proto-Germanic *marhijo- "female horse" (source also of Old Saxon meriha, Old Norse merr, Old Frisian merrie, Dutch merrie, Old High German meriha, German Mähre "mare"), said to be of Gaulish origin (compare Irish and Gaelic marc, Welsh march, Breton marh "horse").
The fem. form is not recorded in Gothic, and there are no known cognates beyond Germanic and Celtic, so perhaps it is a word from a substrate language. The masc. forms have disappeared in English and German except as disguised in marshal (n.). In 14c. also "a bad woman, a slut," and, apparently, also "a rabbit." As the name of a throw in wrestling, it is attested from c. 1600. Mare's nest "illusory discovery, something of apparent importance causing excitement but which turns out to be a delusion or a hoax" is from 1610s.
surname, from marshal (n.). The city in Texas, U.S., was named in 1841 for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall (1755-1835). The Marshall Plan, "U.S. assistance to aid certain Western European nations recovering from World War II," is from 1947, named for its initiator, George C. Marshall (1880-1959), who was U.S. Secretary of State 1947-49. The Marshall Islands in the western Pacific were explored in 1788 by British naval captains John Marshall (1748-1819) and Thomas Gilbert, and named for the former (for the latter, see Kiribati). Related: Marshallese.
1727, prawlin, "confection made of almonds stirred into boiling sugar and water," from French praline (17c.), from the name of Marshal Duplessis-Praslin (1598-1675, pronounced "praline"), "whose cook invented this confection" [Klein]. Modern spelling in English from 1809. The name was transferred 19c. to other similar preparations.
1580s, from French bataillon (16c.), from Italian battaglione "battle squadron," from diminutive of Vulgar Latin *battalia "battle," from Latin bauttere "to beat" (see batter (v.)). Specific sense of "part of a regiment" is from 1708. The oft-repeated quote "God is on the side of the largest battalions" (with many variants) usually is attributed to 17c. French military genius and marshal Turenne:
Madame, lui répondit-il, ne vous y fiez pas: j'ay tôujours vû Dieu do coté des gros Batallions. [E.Boursault, 1702]