Grand marshal is a ceremonial, military, or political office of very high rank. The term has its origins with the word "marshal" with the first usage of the term "grand marshal" as a ceremonial title for certain religious orders. The following are some additional usages of the term grand marshal:
As a court title, a grand marshal is normally the supreme court official in a government legislative branch. Some examples include:
- Grootmaarschalk (in Dutch): The highest civilian official (not in the 'Military House') at the royal courts of Belgium (also grand maréchal in French). The Grand Marshal was often a member of the high nobility, namely Count Charles Jean d'Oultremont, who was Grand Marshal to King Leopold II. This ceremonial function was abolished in 2006, during the reign of Albert II.
- Marszalek wielki: grand marshal (at the court) of Poland or of Lithuania
- Grand marshal: Some US Gay pride associations appoint Grand Marshals. For example, San Francisco Pride's Grand marshals are described as "local heroes from the nine-counties of the San Francisco Bay Area who have made significant contributions to the SF Bay Area LGBTQ community, or as openly gay members of the LGBTQ community, have made significant contributions to society at large." LA/Valley Pride appoint Grand marshals, too. In June 2015, James Corden—actor, writer, etc. turned host of The Late Late Show—campaigned (for entertainment purposes) to become the Grand marshal of the LA/Valley Pride to be held in 2016.
- Grand marshal: One of the highest offices within the military Order of Teutonic Knights
- Grand marshal: Highest elected student leader of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- Grand marshal: A parade dignitary (for example, Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade).
- Grand marshal: A person selected at an automobile race (e.g. NASCAR, IndyCar) by the track owner or race sponsor to be the public leader of events on race day or throughout the race weekend. They may have ceremonial duties such as giving the command to start engines, driving the pace car, waving the green flag to start the race, or presenting the trophy to the race winner.
- Taewonsu (대원수): Grand marshal of North Korea (Hanja:大元帥), superior to the marshal rank of wonsu
- Dai-gensui (大元帥): Grand marshal of the Empire of Japan. The highest title in the Imperial Japanese Army, held solely by the Emperor of Japan, the constitutional commander in chief. The rank was abolished at the end of World War II.
- Hai Lu Jun Da Yuan Shuai (Hai Lu Chun Ta Yuan Shuai; 海陸軍大元帥): Grand marshal of the Navy and Army of the Republic of China was first established in Guangzhou on September 10, 1917.
- Reichsmarschall: Marshal of the Reich (German: "realm" or "empire"). This rank was created especially for Hermann Göring in 1940, possibly in imitation of the rank of Reichsgeneralfeldmarschall held by the Catholic and Evangelical commanders-in-chief of the imperial armies in the Holy Roman Empire, held by such figures as Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen.
- Primo maresciallo dell'Impero d'Italia: First marshal of the Empire. The highest rank in the Italian military, held only by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Benito Mussolini. The rank was abolished following World War II.
- Grand Marshal of Ayacucho: The highest rank in the Venezuelan military, held only by Antonio José de Sucre.
- Marshal General of France The highest rank in the French military.
Grand marshal often appears as a rank in science fiction sources, often in space or star fleets whose size requires a rank above such other titles as surface marshal and fleet admiral. Among grand marshal science fiction equivalents include:
- Grand marshal: Highest conjectural rank of the TIE fighter forces in the universe of Star Wars, equivalent to a grand admiral. This assumes that the TIE fighter forces are a separate branch of service from the Imperial Navy.
- Grand marshal: The 14th and highest PvP honor rank of the Alliance in World of Warcraft.
- Grand marshal: A rank held by Imperial Guard officers in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It seems to be assigned to officers who command the armed forces of an entire planet. It is inferior to "lord commander militant".
- Grand marshal: In motorsport racing of most kinds, with the track marshals, they wave flags throughout the track to communicate with the drivers and inform them about conditions on the track, like weather and other drivers' situations regarding the event.