martial » marshall

Chiefly in:   marshal(l) law

Variant(s):  marshal

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Well, there are some reports this morning that the Indonesians are considering the imposition of some kind of marshall law in East Timor, and there’s a suggestion that if that did not produce an improvement in a very short period of time, then there would be a willingness to accept an international force. (ABC Local Radio (Australia), interview transcript)
  • It’s just a balance of judgement, Neil, but look, these things are all options but we think that the way things stand, it’s possible that the situation … and it’s only possible … that the situation could improve fairly quickly in East Timor, first of all because the Indonesians are now indicating that they will declare marshall law. Well, we’ll see what that means. (Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, interview transcript)
  • For the last five Sundays, from dusk to dawn, the National City Police Department literally has declared `Marshall Law’ upon the residents of National City and upon whomever chooses to use our city streets to eat, shop, and/or socialize. These actions violate our Constitutional Rights “to move about freely without restraint.” (link)
  • Br. Steve Cokely announced that a visitor at his meeting on Thurs. 10-14-04 shared information on the possibility of marshal law going into Effect on Mon. 11-1-04. (The Hiltop forum, Oct 27, 2004)
  • In short, a “Red” alert will be a de facto call for the imposition of marshal law and we can expect much of the nation to heed such a dire warning. (CounterPunch, February 14, 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

Both spellings, with one and two “l”s, occur. Estimating the respective frequencies is made difficult by this eggcorn being much used in puns and jocular film/book/comic strip titles. In addition, several law schools, reviews and libraries are named after individuals called Marshall, and a Mr Marshall Law was sent to Iraq as a US envoy.

See also marshal»martial.

[Entry edited on 2005/08/28 after the form with only one “l” was pointed out by rbersten, who saw the note “Marshal law declared” on-screen in a fictional television broadcast in the movie 10.5. As rbersten notes, this eggcorn makes particular sense in the USA, where ‘marshals’ are law enforcement officers. CW]

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/10 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by JC Dill , 2005/05/17 at 8:16 pm

    I found more “Marshall law” examples by Googling on “Marshall law was”:…

    “Marshall law was declared in Cambridge, Maryland, 1963″…

    “When marshall law was declared in any of the southern areas…”

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