• synonyms


[mahr-shuh l]
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  1. inclined or disposed to war; warlike: The ancient Romans were a martial people.
  2. of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces: martial music.
  3. characteristic of or befitting a warrior: a martial stride.
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Origin of martial

1325–75; Middle English < Latin Mārtiālis of, belonging to Mars, equivalent to Mārti- (stem of Mārs) + -ālis -al1
Related formsmar·tial·ism, nounmar·tial·ist, nounmar·tial·ly, adverbmar·tial·ness, nounnon·mar·tial, adjectivenon·mar·tial·ly, adverbnon·mar·tial·ness, nounun·mar·tial, adjective
Can be confusedmarshal marital martial


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2. military, soldierly.


[mahr-shuh l]
  1. Marcus Valerius Martialis, a.d. 43?–104?, Roman epigrammatist, born in Spain.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for martial

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At 'beautiful Vienne,' Martial boasted that his works were read with avidity.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Farewell to the dismal, blood-red phantom of martial renown!

  • He was young, well-spoken, witty, and skilled in all martial and manly exercises.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • And then he inquired, with martial frown, "Americans, must we go down?"

    Farm Ballads

    Will Carleton

  • Then girt him Beowulf in martial mail, nor mourned for his life.



British Dictionary definitions for martial


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of war, soldiers, or the military life
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Derived Formsmartialism, nounmartialist, nounmartially, adverbmartialness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Latin martiālis of Mars 1


  1. of or relating to Mars
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  1. full name Marcus Valerius Martialis. ?40–?104 ad, Latin epigrammatist and poet, born in Spain
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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 martial


late 14c., "warlike," from Latin martialis "of Mars or war," from Mars (genitive Martis), Roman god of war; see Mars. Related: Martially. Martial law, "military rule over civilians," first recorded 1530s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper