|Common military ranks|
|Field Marshal||Marshal of|
the Air Force
|Admiral||General||Air Chief Marshal|
|Vice Admiral||Lt. General||Air Marshal|
|Rear Admiral||Major General||Air Vice-Marshal|
|Commander||Lt. Colonel||Wing Commander|
|Lt. Commander||Major||Squadron Leader|
|Warrant Officer||Sergeant Major||Warrant Officer|
|1 in the English-speaking world 2 also some Air Forces|
3 In many Commonwealth countries
Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in Armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines An Admiral of the Fleet or Fleet Admiral is a military Naval officer of the highest rank For other meanings see Field Marshal (disambiguation Field marshal is a military officer rank Marshal of the Air Force may be used as a generic term for a rank in some Air forces which use a similar title with their air force's name inserted as their most senior rank Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks of the highest Naval officers Air Chief Marshal ( Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior Air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force (RAF Vice Admiral is a naval rank equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority Lieutenant General is a Military rank used in many countries The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the This article is about the air force rank Air marshal (or Sky marshal) is also the term given to federal security agents who travel undercover aboard commercial Rear admiral is a Naval Commissioned officer rank above that of a Commodore and Captain, and below that of a Vice Admiral. Major General or Major-General is a Military rank used in many countries Air Vice-Marshal ( AVM) is an Air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. Commodore is a Military rank used in many navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a navy captain, but is less than This article refers to the military rank For the Doctor Who character known as the Brigadier see Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Air Commodore ( Air Cdre in the RAF, AIRCDRE in the RNZAF and RAAF, A/C in the former RCAF) is a rank in For information specifically on the Royal Navy rank of captain see Captain (Royal Navy. Colonel ( RP ˈkɜnəl GA ˈkɜrnəl is a Military rank of a Commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every country Group Captain ( Gp Capt in the RAF and Indian Air Force, GPCAPT in the RNZAF and RAAF, G/C in the former Commander is a Military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service Lieutenant Colonel ( Lieutenant-Colonel in English from the French grade 's spelling is a rank of Commissioned officer in the armies Wing Commander ( Wg Cdr in the RAF, WGCDR in the RNZAF and RAAF, W/C in the former RCAF) is a commissioned Lieutenant Commander ( Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy) is a Commissioned officer rank in many navies Superior Squadron Leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence Lieutenant (abbreviated Lt or Lieut) is a Military, Naval, Paramilitary, Fire service, Emergency medical services Flight Lieutenant ( Flt Lt in the RAF; FLTLT in the RAAF and RNZAF, F/L in the former RCAF) is a junior Sub-Lieutenant is a military rank It is normally a junior officer rank Lieutenant (abbreviated Lt or Lieut) is a Military, Naval, Paramilitary, Fire service, Emergency medical services Flying Officer ( Fg Off in the RAF FLGOFF in the RAAF FGOFF in the RNZAF F/O in the former RCAF and frequently in the RAF is a junior commissioned A Warrant Officer ( WO) is a member of a military organization holding one of a specific group of ranks. A Sergeant Major is a rank or appointment in many militaries around the world A Warrant Officer ( WO) is a member of a military organization holding one of a specific group of ranks. A Petty Officer is a noncommissioned officer or equivalent in many navies. Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries police forces and other uniformed organizations around the world Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries police forces and other uniformed organizations around the world Leading Rating (or Leading Rate) is the most senior of the junior rates in the British Royal Navy. Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and also by some police forces or other uniformed organizations Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and also by some police forces or other uniformed organizations Seaman as a rate refers to one of the lowest rates in a Navy. A Private is a Soldier of the lowest Military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in Aircraftman ( AC) or Aircraftwoman ( ACW) is the lowest rank in the Royal Air Force and the Air forces of several other Commonwealth Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in Armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines Moreover, Major frequently denotes a mid-level command status officer (immediately superior to the rank of Captain and immediately subordinate to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel), however in some armies major is essentially a senior NCO (non-commissioned officer), a usage derived from "sergeant-major". An officer is a member of an armed force who holds a position of authority Lieutenant Colonel ( Lieutenant-Colonel in English from the French grade 's spelling is a rank of Commissioned officer in the armies A non-commissioned officer (sometimes noncommissioned officer) also known as an NCO or Noncom, is an enlisted member of an Armed force
In considering terms of rank it is important to understand that the early evolution of the terms often was outside of English, and that the term always has been of essentially international distribution. In general European usage, the rank of Major originates from Romance comparative adjectives with the sense of Latin maior (also spelled major), meaning 'senior' and 'greater'. The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages, or Neolatin languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family comprising all Historically all Majors, Sergeants Major, and Major Generals (to use English forms) derive from the rank, or rather the office of Sergeant Major. Major General or Major-General is a Military rank used in many countries The Sergeant Major was the senior sergeant responsible for marshalling a battalion of pike. A battalion is a Military unit of around 500-1500 men usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel He was presumably the senior Company Sergeant from among the companies providing the pikemen, or at least a commissioned officer considered analogous to such a non-commissioned officer (sergeant). Hence, Major is an abbreviation of Sergeant Major: the (Sergeant) Major 'the senior sergeant'. This is obscured in French and English, by the later evolution of a separate, non-commissioned rank called sergent major or Sergeant Major. Similarly, the rank of Major General is truncated from original Sergeant Major General 'the sergeant major or sergeant major-like soldier with general authority over the marshalling of the whole army'. Originally, there existed a single Sergeant Major General in each major field force.
The original usage is illustrated in the first recorded(?) English (1643) attestation, as "Sergeant-Major", 'the third-in-command of a regiment'. A Sergeant Major is a rank or appointment in many militaries around the world A regiment is a Military unit, composed of a variable number of Battalions – commanded by a Colonel. The early German equivalent was Feld Wachtmeister, in which Feld functions as major and Wachtmeister ('watch master' or 'quarter[-ing] master') is the more commonly used term for a cavalry sergeant. Similarly we early on find Spanish Majors referred to Sargento Major.
In several European navies, the rank of Major was used in the sense or form "Pilot-Major" to denote the senior deck officer of a vessel in contrast to the Captain (or Captain General) who was typically an Army officer, with little naval knowledge, assigned to command the mission on which a vessel was embarked. Captain General (and its literal equivalent in several languages is a high Military rank and a gubernatorial title The English equivalent of this usage is Master, as opposed to the Captain or Commander. Captain is the traditional customary title given to the person in charge in command of a Ship at sea Commander is a Military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service
In the Spanish navy of the 16th and 17th centuries, the captain's principal seaman was the "maestre" (master) who was responsible for the maritime operation of the ship. Next in the chain of command was the "piloto" (pilot) responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. A flagship's pilot was the "piloto mayor" (chief or major pilot) who determined the course of the whole squadron. 
NOTES: 1. "Spanish Galleon 1530-1690" by Angus Konstam, copyright 2004 Osprey Publishing Ltd.
In most comparative military scales a Major is a senior officer ranking above company grade ranks that usually include captain and between one and three lower subaltern officer ranks. A subaltern is a Military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning " Subordinate," subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers In the NATO rank code, Major as a Level 3 officer. Armies have Military rank systems that are often used by other military services such as Air forces or Marines. The naval equivalent to a Major is, in some nations, the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Lieutenant Commander ( Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy) is a Commissioned officer rank in many navies Superior
By the time of the English Civil War, Major had become a rank in itself, and was assigned to mid-level officers on the battlefield, and was most often used by those serving as aides to a superior General. The English Civil War (1642-1651 was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists.
In the French military, a major is the most senior non-commissioned rank. The Military of France encompasses an army, a navy, an air force and a military police force. This rank can only be awarded by senior NCO (adjudants-chefs), after a very selective exam. Officially it is not a non-commissioned rank, but an intermediate rank between non-commissioned and commissioned.
The rank of Major may still be found in its original form as a suffix (either hyphenated or not), to denote an officer more senior to the base rank. As a suffix, major derives from a comparative adjective major 'greater' and 'senior' following the modified Romance language noun; e. g. Adjutant-Major, and Colonel-Major. Adjutant is a military rank or appointment In some armies it is an officer who assists a more senior officer while in other armies it is a rank which normally corresponds It is also still commonly used in the rank of Sergeant Major, and is also used in ceremonial appointments such as Drum-Major and Pipe-Major. A Sergeant Major is a rank or appointment in many militaries around the world A Sergeant Major of the Drums or drum major is the leader of a Marching band, Drum and bugle corps, or Pipe band. The Pipe Major is the director of Bagpipe music in a Scottish or Irish Pipe band.
In Argentina, the armed forces all use the rank of sub-officer-major as the highest non-commissioned rank. The army and air force also use the officer rank of major. The army has a rank of colonel-major, but this is essentially an automatic promotion for long-serving colonels rather than a functional rank in its own right. The Argentine National Gendarmerie uses the rank of commandant-major, which is roughly equivalent to a colonel or chief superintendent in the commonwealth. The Argentine National Gendarmerie ( Gendarmería Nacional Argentina; GNA) is the Gendarmerie and corps of border guards of Argentina Colonel ( RP ˈkɜnəl GA ˈkɜrnəl is a Military rank of a Commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every country
It is similarly still used as a prefix for the General officer rank of Major-General, which is similarly used in many other languages (e. Major General or Major-General is a Military rank used in many countries g. Generaal-Majoor in Dutch). Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname