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

Regardless of the opponent, Mourinho could concoct a specific tactic to neutralise even the best players in the world, and his players were all good enough to put those plans into action. SI.com, "Jose Mourinho: The 'Special One' Who Shattered Records All Over Europe," 6 Aug. 2019 Keeping customers interested To stand out amid the crowd, chains are trying new tactics—such as turning to the kids themselves for inspiration. Jordyn Holman, Fortune, "Sales Are So Common, Are They Meaningless?," 6 Aug. 2019 Many investors and CEOs agree with the US administration's complaints about China's trade tactics, including the use of non-tariff trade barriers and theft of intellectual property. Matt Egan, CNN, "Goldman Sachs thinks the trade war will drag on until after the 2020 election," 6 Aug. 2019 However, many land owners have tried various tactics, including poisoning and shooting, in order to clear the animals off their properties. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Texas prairie dogs get a new home on the range," 5 Aug. 2019 Police find abundant evidence that shooters have studied previous crimes, often mimicking gestures or killing tactics, as if in homage to previous killers. Benedict Carey, BostonGlobe.com, "Copycats, video games, mental illness: What we know about mass shootings," 5 Aug. 2019 Authorities also suspended internet services on cellphones, a common tactic to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized and to stop the dissemination of news. Washington Post, "Security lockdown in place in Indian-controlled Kashmir," 5 Aug. 2019 Authorities also suspended internet services on cellphones, a common tactic to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized and to stop the dissemination of news. NBC News, "India's government revokes disputed Kashmir's special status," 5 Aug. 2019 The coaches’ conversation could include the game’s tactics, an issue a coach is dealing with in their club’s front office or a player’s possible availability in a trade. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Over wine, Loons’ Adrian Heath establishes ‘brotherhood’ with fellow coaches," 3 Aug. 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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Learn More about tactic

Dictionary Entries near tactic







tactical diameter

Statistics for tactic

Last Updated

10 Aug 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 period when something is suspended

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