English and Scottish: status name or occupational name from Middle English, Old French maresc(h)al ‘marshal’. The term is of Germanic origin (compare Old High German marah ‘horse’, ‘mare’ + scalc ‘servant’). Originally it denoted a man who looked after horses, but by the heyday of medieval surname formation it denoted on the one hand one of the most important servants in a great household (in the royal household a high official of state, one with military responsibilities), and on the other a humble shoeing smith or farrier. It was also an occupational name for a medieval court officer responsible for the custody of prisoners. An even wider range of meanings is found in some other languages: compare for example Polish Marszałek (see Marszalek). The surname is also borne by Jews, presumably as an Americanized form of one or more likesounding Jewish surnames.