dead marine, Australian Slang. an empty bottle of beer or spirits.
    tell it/that to the marines! I don't believe your story; I refuse to be fooled.

Origin of marine

1325–75; Middle English maryne < Middle French marin (feminine marine) < Latin marīnus of the sea, derivative of mare sea; see -ine1
Related formsin·ter·ma·rine, adjectivenon·ma·rine, adjective, nounsem·i·ma·rine, adjective, nounsu·per·ma·rine, adjectiveun·ma·rine, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marines

Contemporary Examples of marines

Historical Examples of marines

  • We are to have sixty blue-jackets and five marines for sentries, and so on.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • The marines had cleaned and loaded all the muskets, and placed them in the racks.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • Major Oldfield, who commanded the marines of Theseus, was killed, with two of his men.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • The Marines, at a word from their officer, turned to go, taking the prisoners with them.

    Plotting in Pirate Seas

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler

  • Runkle was off like a shot on his errand and soon returned with two marines.

British Dictionary definitions for marines


adjective (usually prenominal)

of, found in, or relating to the sea
of or relating to shipping, navigation, etc
of or relating to a body of seagoing troopsmarine corps
of or relating to a government department concerned with maritime affairs
used or adapted for use at seaa marine camera


shipping and navigation in generalthe merchant marine
(capital when part of a name) a member of a marine corps or similar body
a picture of a ship, seascape, etc
tell it to the marines informal an expression of disbelief

Word Origin for marine

C15: from Old French marin, from Latin marīnus, from mare sea
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for marines



14c., "seacoast;" see marine (adj.). Meaning "collective shipping of a country" is from 1660s. Meaning "soldier who serves on a ship" is from 1670s, a separate borrowing from French marine, from the French adjective. Phrase tell that to the marines (1806) originally was the first half of a retort expressing skepticism:

"Upon my soul, sir," answered the lieutenant, "when I thought she scorned my passion, I wept like a child."

"Belay there!" cried the captain; "you may tell that to the marines, but I'll be d----d if the sailors will believe it." ["John Moore," "The Post-Captain; or, the Wooden Walls Well Manned," 1805]

The book, a rollicking sea romance/adventure novel, was popular in its day and the remark is a recurring punch line in it (repeated at least four times). It was written by naval veteran John Davis (1774-1854) but published under the name John Moore. Walsh records that, "The marines are among the 'jolly' jack-tars a proverbially gullible lot, capable of swallowing any yarn, in size varying from a yawl-boat to a full-rigged frigate."



early 15c., "pertaining to the sea," from Middle French marin, from Old French marin "of the sea, maritime," from Latin marinus "of the sea," from mare "sea, the sea, seawater," from PIE *mori- "body of water, lake" (see mere (n.)). The Old English word was sælic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

marines in Science



Relating to the sea.
Relating to a system of open-ocean and unprotected coastal habitats, characterized by exposure to wave action, tidal fluctuation, and ocean currents and by the absence of trees, shrubs, or emergent vegetation. Water in the marine system is at or near the full salinity of seawater. Compare lacustrine palustrine riverine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with marines


see tell it to the marines.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.