Marching Orders (To Get One’s)

Meaning of “Get Your (or one’s) Marching Orders

To ‘get your marching orders,’ can have two basic meanings in general usage. Often, to get one’s marching orders means to be fired from a job or removed from a position. It can also refer to an order to move or proceed with something. This second meaning is much closer to the military meaning of the phrase, where marching orders refer literally to troops being ordered to march, or move.

Examples Of Use

“Two people at the office were given their marching orders today. I hope I’m not next!”

“During the project meeting, Ted gave his team their marching orders, and then just let them do their jobs.”


This idiom is of military origin and comes from the literal meaning as used in the military, as given above. It has been used since at least the early 1900’s.

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