Word of the Day


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1. if soldiers march, they walk in a group with each person matching the speed and movements of the others

2. to walk along a road as part of a group of people protesting about something

3. to walk somewhere quickly and in a determined, confident, or angry way

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The ‘walk’ meaning of march was first recorded in English in the mid 15th century and came from the French verb ‘marcher’. Other meanings are much older. The name of the month, for example, is found in Old English and came from French and Latin origins.


March is a polysemous word, with several senses for both the verb and the noun. There are also several idioms associated with march. If soldiers are on the march, they are marching to a new position, but if an idea or opinion is on the march it is steadily becoming more accepted or popular. The march of something such as time, or history, is the way in which it moves irrevocably forwards. To steal a march on someone is to gain an advantage by secretly doing something they had planned to do. If troops are given their marching orders, they are told where to go; but if someone who is not in the military is given their marching orders they are told that they must leave, or that their services are no longer wanted.


“The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it.”
(Emile Zola)

“This, then, is the test we must set for ourselves; not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us.”
(Hubert Humphrey)

Related words

drill, halt, mark time, yomp

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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