1. A large tent, often with open sides, used chiefly for outdoor entertainment.
2. A roof like structure, often bearing a signboard, projecting over an entrance, as to a theatre or hotel. Also called marquise.
adj. Exceptionally popular or skilled: The team is hoping to sign a marquee player.
The origin of the term ‘marquee signing’ in football parlance is shrouded in mystery. It’s long been an accepted idiom of the game through silent acquiescence, so much so that it has now forced its way onto online dictionaries. A cursory search of the word marquee now lists it as both a noun and an adjective, the latter specifically existing to describe someone “exceptionally popular or skilled.”
When people consider the word ‘marquee’ they often think of the grand tents set up as shelters for summer events, predominantly shows, weddings and festivals. When the word marquee is bandied around you know the event is taking itself seriously and it’s pulling out all the stops. But it’s the other meaning of marquee that the sporting world has adopted.