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

Protests were expected Wednesday but more as a display of anger and venting of frustration, rather than an effective blocking tactic. James Griffiths, CNN, "The return of Hong Kong's umbrella movement," 12 June 2019 Recognizing weedbeds likely to hold fish that can be caught on this tactic takes some experience. Frank Sargeant, al.com, "Hey anglers, don’t forget flippin’ as spring turns into summer," 12 June 2019 Apparently unaware of, or unconcerned with, the advantages offered by the canny use of public diplomacy, coercive tactics have become a main feature of his Presidency. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Mexico, Cuba, and Trump’s Increasing Preference for Punishment Over Diplomacy," 11 June 2019 Despite police crowd control tactics that kept marchers at a standstill at many points, Hong Kong was its usual disciplined self. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong has got its protest mojo back," 9 June 2019 Political campaigns really pick up on new technology and tactics quickly: If a new technology can give them another half percentage point of turnout, many campaigns are won by thousands of votes, and that could be a big deal. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Meet the Oakland startup founder whose company is helping redefine how political campaigns use text messaging," 9 June 2019 Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has revealed how manager Jurgen Klopp changed his side's tactics to help them to become champions of Europe for a sixth time. SI.com, "Alisson Reveals the Tactical Change Which Led to Liverpool's Champions League Win," 9 June 2019 America is deploying new tactics—poker-style brinkmanship—and new weapons that exploit its role as the nerve centre of the global economy to block the free flow of goods, data, ideas and money across borders. The Economist, "America is deploying a new economic arsenal to assert its power," 6 June 2019 Those fish, which can continue spawning for several more years, may find familiar structures in Lake Raven thanks to a research project aimed at developing tactics that can benefit catfish in smaller lakes. Shannon Tompkins, ExpressNews.com, "Fish in a barrel, or how to spawn cats in a small lake," 6 June 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

15 Jun 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

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