tac·​tic | \ˈtak-tik \

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

Senior Trump administration officials such as Larry Kudlow and Steven Mnuchin echoed that tariffs were a negotiating tactic to get to a better deal. David Mcintosh, WSJ, "No New Nafta Until Tariffs Have Been Lifted," 9 Dec. 2018 Now, that’s not to say no-platforming is an entirely illegitimate tactic. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Milo Yiannopoulos’s collapse shows that no-platforming can work," 5 Dec. 2018 Efforts to link liberal causes to Soros are a tactic often used by the alt-right and other conservatives as a dog whistle for anti-Semitism. Nick Statt, The Verge, "No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm," 15 Nov. 2018 As explained by It's Going Down, a banner drop like the one at the World Series is a simple protest tactic that can make a big impression. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "A World Series Trans Pride Banner Drop Gave the TransLatin@ Coalition a Chance to Raise Its Voice," 29 Oct. 2018 Further Reading Trump administration fails to block AT&T/Time Warner merger Dish said AT&T pulled HBO from Dish and Sling TV, while HBO said that Dish pulled the channel from its services as a negotiating tactic. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "AT&T—owner of HBO and DirecTV—lets HBO go dark on Dish in money fight," 1 Nov. 2018 The episode began a day earlier when Booker first implied Kavanaugh had been open to racial profiling tactics, citing the email exchange between Kavanaugh and a colleague. Alex Pappas | Fox News, Fox News, "‘Confidential’ Kavanaugh emails posted by Cory Booker were cleared, despite dramatic claim of defying rules," 2 Oct. 2018 So far, the GOP has not resorted to those tactics to try to defend Kavanaugh. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "In the Age of #MeToo, Will Christine Blasey Ford’s Experience Be the Same as Anita Hill’s?," 17 Sep. 2018 Cruz and Texas Republicans, perhaps caught off guard by such a strong challenge in what was thought to still be a safely red state, have turned to increasingly odd tactics to counter the O’Rourke momentum. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Somebody posing as Beto O’Rourke’s campaign sent texts proposing voter fraud," 6 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for tactic

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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

tactics : the activity or skill of organizing and moving soldiers and equipment in a military battle


tac·​tic | \ˈtak-tik \

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 \

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

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 make faulty or ineffective

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