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

In various degrees of bluntness, screenwriter/director/executive producer James DeMonaco had a few things to say about the fear-mongering tactics that would ultimately put him there. Michael Phillips, kansascity, "In ‘First Purge’ prequel, there’s no avoiding politics or buckets of blood," 3 July 2018 In various degrees of bluntness, screenwriter/director/executive producer James DeMonaco had a few things to say about the fear-mongering tactics that would ultimately put him there. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'The First Purge' review: The riskiest-ever federal entitlement program begins," 3 July 2018 That means strategies to save more and spend smarter, tactics to negotiate not just at work, but on health care, home decor, and more, and stories to inspire your inner CEO. Samantha Leac, Glamour, "Here’s What $10,000 Actually Looks Like," 9 Apr. 2019 But due to a downturn in the economy and 9/11, Jones and his attorneys seemingly changed tactics. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Notorious patent enforcement entity values its entire portfolio at $2, folds," 1 Nov. 2018 My organization [The Center for Popular Democracy] has been using these tactics of trying to take our stories to the senators, either by trying to find them in the hallways or in the elevators, or going to their offices. Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher Open Up About Confronting Jeff Flake in the Elevator," 29 Oct. 2018 Getty Images The rise of mass surveillance and biometric analysis in public space Since 9/11, mass surveillance has become the norm for law enforcement, which uses a variety of tactics to monitor people. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018 The usual tactics of corporate dissent don’t seem to be working. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "The Tech Industry Is Fighting Trump—and Mostly Losing," 27 June 2018 The tactic of directly confronting administration officials has itself become a topic of debate, with even some opponents of the child-separation policy describing it as a sign of eroding public discourse and growing tribalism. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Trump Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Kicked Out of Virginia Restaurant," 23 June 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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Dictionary Entries near tactic







tactical diameter

Statistics for tactic

Last Updated

18 May 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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