Definition of stratagem
1a : an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemyb : a cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end
2 : skill in ruses or trickery
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Examples of stratagem in a Sentence
tried various stratagems to get the cat into the carrier, but the feisty feline was wise to them all
Did You Know?
A "stratagem" is any clever scheme - sometimes one that's part of an overall "strategy" (i.e., a carefully worked out plan of action). Clearly, we no longer limit ourselves to the original military sense of "stratagem" as 15th-century users of the term did. The military meaning can be traced back to the word's Greek ancestor strategema, which is itself based on strategein, meaning "to act as a general." "Strategein" in turn comes from "strategos" ("general"), which comes from "stratos" ("army") and "agein" ("to lead"). "Strategos" is an ancestor of "strategy" as well.
Origin and Etymology of stratagem
Italian stratagemma, from Latin strategema, from Greek stratēgēma, from stratēgein to be a general, maneuver, from stratēgos general, from stratos camp, army (akin to Latin stratus, past participle, spread out) + agein to lead — more at stratum, agent
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of stratagem
STRATAGEM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of stratagem for English Language Learners
: a trick or plan for deceiving an enemy or for achieving a goal
STRATAGEM Defined for Kids
Definition of stratagem for Students
: a clever trick or plan
Seen and Heard
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