Mar"tial (?), a. [F., fr. L. martialis of or belonging to Mars, the god of war. Cf. March the month.]


Of, pertaining to, or suited for, war; military; as, martial music; a martial appearance.

"Martial equipage."



Practiced in, or inclined to, war; warlike; brave.

But peaceful kings, o'er martial people set, Each other's poise and counterbalance are. Dryden.


Belonging to war, or to an army and navy; -- opposed to civil; as, martial law; a court-martial.


Pertaining to, or resembling, the god, or the planet, Mars.

Sir T. Browne.

5. Old Chem. & Old Med.

Pertaining to, or containing, iron; chalybeate; as, martial preparations.


Martial flowers Med., a reddish crystalline salt of iron; the ammonio-chloride of iron. [Obs.] -- Martial law, the law administered by the military power of a government when it has superseded the civil authority in time of war, or when the civil authorities are unable to enforce the laws. It is distinguished from military law, the latter being the code of rules for the regulation of the army and navy alone, either in peace or in war.

Syn. -- Martial, Warlike. Martial refers more to war in action, its array, its attendants, etc.; as, martial music, a martial appearance, a martial array, courts-martial, etc. Warlike describes the feeling or temper which leads to war, and the adjuncts of war; as, a warlike nation, warlike indication, etc. The two words are often used without discrimination.


© Webster 1913.