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Major is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. When used unhyphenated and in conjunction with no other indicators, major is one rank above captain in armies and air forces, and one rank below lieutenant colonel. It is considered the most junior of the senior officer ranks.[1]


Etymologically, the word stems from the Latin word major meaning "greater".[2] The rank can be traced back to the rank of sergeant major general, which was shortened to sergeant major, and subsequently shortened to major.[3]

When used in hyphenated or combined fashion, the term can also imply seniority at other levels of rank, including major general, denoting a low-level general officer, and sergeant major, denoting the most senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) of a military unit.[disputed ][citation needed] The term major can also be used with a hyphen to denote the leader of a military band such as in pipe-major or drum-major.

Links to major ranks by country

Alphabetically sorted by name of country:


Army insignia

Insignia of air force majors

Insignia of naval infantry majors

Insignia of majors of other services

See also


  1. ^ "Army Major". Military-Ranks. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  2. ^ Cipra, Dave (24 May 1985). "A History of Ranks & Titles – Part Five: The Landlubbers". Commandant's Bulletin. 11: 19.
  3. ^ Cipra, Dave (7 June 1985). "A History of Ranks & Titles – Final episode: The Landlubbers". Commandant's Bulletin. 12: 13–16.
  4. ^ "Postos do Exército". (in Portuguese). Angolan Army. Archived from the original on 30 June 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Ranks". Government of Botswana. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Loi organique N°1/ 04 du 20 février 2017 portant Missions, Organisation, Composition, Instruction, Conditions de service et Fonctionnement de la Force de Défense Nationale du Burundi" (PDF). (in French). Government of Burundi. p. 45. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Patente". (in Portuguese). Cape Verdean Armed Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  8. ^ "KDF Ranks". Ministry of Defence - Kenya. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Ranks in the Army". Lesotho Defence Force. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Defense Act of 2008" (PDF). 3 September 2008. p. 8. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  12. ^ Smaldone, Joseph P. (1992). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Nigeria: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 296–297. LCCN 92009026. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  13. ^ "RDF Insignia". Government of the Republic of Rwanda. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Rank structure". Seychelles People's Defence Forces. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Uniform: Rank insignia". Department of Defence (South Africa). Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces Act" (PDF). The Uganda Gazette. Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation. CXII (46): 1851–1854. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  17. ^ Ehrenreich, Frederick (1983). "National Security". In Nelson, Harold D. (ed.). Zimbabwe: a Country Study. Area Handbook (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 267. LCCN 83-11946. Retrieved 5 July 2022.