Word Confusion: Marital versus Martial

Posted November 17, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Yeah, an argument can be made that marital life can have a martial quality, but hey, not always!

I have trouble with this one, and I use a sound-out trick to ensure I’m using the correct version. It’s the i. Mar-i-tal kind of sounds like marry while slurring together the ia in martial sounds more like one is marshaling one’s forces. It’s probably why many writers have a hard time distinguishing between marshal and martial, ahem.

Consider the following:
Ah, marital bliss…

Still on their honeymoon?

Ah, martial bliss…

Someone likes fighting.

Notes of marital harmony slid under the door.

O-k-a-y…I wonder if that headboard is banging against the wall…

Notes of martial harmony slid under the door.

Several someones are happily fighting in that room.

Janie is so angry about her marital breakup.

She and her spouse are getting a divorce.

Janie is so angry about her martial breakup.

Damn, and just when she was about to enter the WWE Divas match!

You may want to explore the post, “Marshal vs Marshall vs Martial” for those differences.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Marital versus Martial” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

Marital Martial
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Kate Middleton kisses Prince William on the palace balcony

“Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton Kiss” by John Pannell is a derivative work by César under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

A kiss is a marital custom at a wedding.

martial arts fight

“Martial Arts Fight White Belt” is MichaelSmith15’s own work under the [CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective
Relating to marriage or the relationship of a married couple

  • Conjugal
  • Matrimonial

[Archaic] Of or relating to a husband

Of or appropriate to war

  • Warlike
  • Associated with war or the armed forces

Characteristic of or befitting a warrior

Marital fidelity was not George’s strong suit.

They embarked on a voyage of marital bliss that has lasted 50 years.

And your marital status is?

Helen and Mary will exchange marital vows next Saturday.

Marital discord generally indicates a lack of communication.

Martial bravery and prudence don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

The ancient Romans were a martial people.

“It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” was a popular martial tune in World War I.

He affected a martial stride.

Martial arts are intended as a form of attack or self-defense.

Let’s hope we never experience martial law in the U.S.

Adjective: nonmarital, postmarital
Adverb: maritally, nonmaritally
Adjective: nonmartial
Adverb: martially
Noun: martialism, martialist, martialness
History of the Word:
Early 16th century from the Latin maritalis, which is from maritus meaning husband. Late Middle English from the Old French or from the Latin martialis, which is from Mars.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Couple Yelling at Each Other” by Vic is under the CC-BY 2.0 license, via Flickr.