tac·​tic | \ ˈtak-tik How to pronounce tactic (audio) \

Definition of tactic

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a device for accomplishing an end
2 : a method of employing forces in combat



Definition of tactic (Entry 2 of 3)

: of or relating to arrangement or order

Definition of -tactic (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or having (such) an arrangement or pattern paratactic
2 : showing orientation or movement directed by a (specified) force or agent geotactic

Examples of tactic in a Sentence


an effective tactic for solving crimes We may need to change tactics. a specialist in naval tactics
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The pair have helped transform Liverpool into one of Europe's finest sides, with Klopp's tactics and Van Dijk's leadership both vital to the Reds' run to Champions League glory last season. SI.com, "Real Madrid & Barcelona Prepare Shock Approach for Liverpool Duo Virgil van Dijk & Jurgen Klopp," 16 Sep. 2019 Over a period of a few weeks, scientists found that the rats quickly learned how to hide and seek, and even started to develop tactics and strategies for the game. Aj Willingham, CNN, "A sweet social media moment revealed, a wrong text gone right and...a telephone pole?," 13 Sep. 2019 But as with traditional sports, competitions are a culmination, the reward for long hours spent training, studying tactics and tendencies on video, and, yes, maintaining healthy habits. Chris Brodeur, courant.com, "UConn Gaming Club bringing esports revolution to Storrs, the Big East and beyond," 12 Sep. 2019 Some combination of deliberate tactics and the unprecedented loathing of his opponents causes anything bombastic, silly, or overly self-centered to be played up and employed to reinforce the caricature of him as a blustering, narcissistic windbag. Conrad Black, National Review, "Trump’s Only Real Weakness Is His Style," 11 Sep. 2019 This is what love is in the Roy family: tactics and maneuvering. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "How Succession Skewers the Rich," 9 Sep. 2019 Accounts of Avenatti’s extraordinary negotiating tactics and the subsequent alliance between Nike and federal prosecutors to turn the tables dominated the news cycle for several days. oregonlive, "Bad blood, betrayal turns L.A. coach into Nike whistleblower," 7 Sep. 2019 Members of Putin’s human rights council also strongly criticized the brutal police tactics and the criminal charges brought against some of the protesters, describing them as unfounded. Washington Post, "Protests over Russian local election make Kremlin nervous," 6 Sep. 2019 Compstat relies on timely and accurate information or intelligence, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics, and relentless follow-up. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Beat by beat, street by street, Birmingham police use algorithms to fight crime in age of analytics," 6 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tactic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tactic


1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tactic


New Latin tactica, from Greek taktikē, from feminine of taktikos


New Latin tacticus, from Greek taktikos

Adjective combining form

Greek taktikos

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Dictionary Entries near tactic







tactical diameter

Statistics for tactic

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tactic

The first known use of tactic was in 1640

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More Definitions for tactic



English Language Learners Definition of tactic

: an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal
: the activity or skill of organizing and moving soldiers and equipment in a military battle


tac·​tic | \ ˈtak-tik How to pronounce tactic (audio) \

Kids Definition of tactic

: a planned action for some purpose “All that kid does is cry and he gets his way.” … “If I tried that tactic, my parents would just say, ‘Grow up.’ …”— Pam Zollman, Don't Bug Me!


tac·​tic | \ ˈtak-tik How to pronounce tactic (audio) \

Medical Definition of tactic

1 : regular in structure of repeating units in a polymer
2 : of, relating to, or showing biological taxis

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More from Merriam-Webster on tactic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tactic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tactic

Spanish Central: Translation of tactic

Nglish: Translation of tactic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tactic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tactic

What made you want to look up tactic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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