tactic

noun
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

tactic

adjective

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 phonotactic
2 : showing orientation or movement directed by a (specified) force or agent geotactic

Note: Adjectives formed with -tactic usually correspond to nouns ending in -taxis.

Examples of tactic in a Sentence

Noun 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 The basic tactic for all shad consists of a cross-current cast and accelerated swing along the edges of holes and seams and to the ends of the pools as described above. Bill May, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Bill May: Springtime means shad fishing | OUTDOORS COMMENTARY," 10 Apr. 2021 Male politicians seem more likely to employ the tactic. Star Tribune, "Gaetz vows to fight, tries to stay on offensive amid scandal," 9 Apr. 2021 The tactic is seen as a way to engage the community and provide transparency into policing activities, the AJC previously reported. Henri Hollis, ajc, "Roswell police to hold virtual ride-along on Twitter," 8 Apr. 2021 The tactic also enabled someone to query a set of user profiles and obtain certain information from their public profiles. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Was My Facebook Data Leaked? What You Need to Know," 6 Apr. 2021 The police tactic of de-escalation focuses on defusing tense situations to avoid violence. Stephen Groves, The Christian Science Monitor, "Three questions Derek Chauvin's trial seeks to answer," 2 Apr. 2021 Psaki used the same tactic to dodge Democratic complaints Biden's plan would fail to roll back Trump's $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "White House presses GOP to counter with own infrastructure pay-fors," 1 Apr. 2021 Oregon Republicans used the tactic every year since 2019. oregonlive, "Oregon House will use computer to read bills starting Tuesday to ease Republican delays," 29 Mar. 2021 The tactic is widely used around the country, but relatively new to San Francisco. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, "Mayor Breed is working on a huge expansion of S.F.'s homeless housing. How much will it help?," 29 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. The Salt Lake Tribune, "How Trump steered supporters into millions of unwitting donations," 4 Apr. 2021 The Times’ Shane Goldmacher writes: The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists—retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "How to spot design traps like the “money bomb” Trump used to dupe supporters," 4 Apr. 2021 The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. New York Times, "How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations," 3 Apr. 2021 The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Shane Goldmacher New York Times, Star Tribune, "How Trump steered supporters into unwitting donations," 3 Apr. 2021 After the election, Mooney led a successful campaign to ban donors from using limited liability companies, or LLCs, to make multiple maximum donations, a tactic Cranley’s campaign employed to raise large sums in the mayoral election. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, "Investigation: How campaign cash flowed to Cranley from Liberty and Elm project team," 24 Mar. 2021 Republicans employed the tactic many times when their party held the majority. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "Democrats Narrow Stimulus Payments as Biden Works to Keep Aid Plan on Track," 3 Mar. 2021 Miami prevails 124-116, thanks to throwing multiple different looks at Utah and slowing down Utah’s process of adaptation — a tactic more opponents are sure to emulate. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Jazz get a glimpse of their future after falling victim to Heat’s rapidly-changing defensive coverages," 26 Feb. 2021 The tactic accounts for around 70% of Robinhood's revenue, raising questions of whether this is sustainable and if the firm will be able to diversify its revenue stream in the future. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Robinhood co-founder steps down as co-CEO, leaving Vlad Tenev as sole chief ahead of a rumored IPO," 20 Nov. 2020

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

Noun

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tactic

Noun

borrowed from New Latin tactica "art of deploying troops in combat," borrowed from Greek taktikḗ (originally modifying téchnē "art, skill "), noun derivative from feminine of taktikós "of ordering or arranging, of ordering troops in combat"; in recent use also as back-formation from tactics — more at tactic entry 2

Adjective

borrowed from Greek taktikós "of ordering or arranging, of ordering troops in combat," from taktós "ordered, prescribed" (verbal adjective of tássein —Attic táttein— "to draw up in order [as troops, ships], post, station, place in order, prescribe, assess," of uncertain origin) + -ikos -ic entry 1

Note: The derivative noun tagḗ "line of battle" (and possibly Thessalian tāgós "commander") show that the base of the verb was tag-, which should have resulted in *tázein rather than tássein; the latter was presumably introduced from generalization of the voiceless consonant in the aorist and in derivatives such as taktós, táxis, etc. The base tag- has been compared with the Parthian title tgmdr (read as *taɣma-dára "order-giver"), Old Persian ham-ataxšata "they have put in order," Tocharian B tāś "commander," and (semantically much more distant) Lithuanian patogùs "convenient, comfortable," sutógti "to get married, ally oneself." R. Beekes proposes a verb *teh2g-, invoking a law to delete the laryngeal in order to avoid positing a base with *a (Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2010).

Adjective combining form

borrowed from Greek -taktikos, after pairs such as prótaxis "placement in front, prefixing," protaktikós "used as a prefix" — more at tactic entry 2

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tactic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactic. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for tactic

tactic

noun

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

tactic

noun
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!

tactic

adjective
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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