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 this case, the tactic was part of an attempt to use bad patents to prop up drug prices for everyone. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Court: Native American tribe can’t be a “sovereign” shield during patent review," 25 July 2018 Ginsburg would later start the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, going on to repeat this tactic in many ways. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconification culminates in the biopic On the Basis of Sex," 20 Dec. 2018 This tactic allegedly resulted, this person said, in at millions of dollars in phantom revenue. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Ex-SolarCity employees: We were fired after reporting millions in fake sales," 31 July 2018 One major drawback to this tactic is that the genetic pool from just two northern white cows and four bulls is extremely limited, and would likely lead to severe inbreeding. New York Times, "Rhino Embryos Made in Lab to Save Nearly Extinct Subspecies," 4 July 2018 This tactic let both parties pursue a vote-maximizing approach, with the CDU freed up to appeal to more centrist voters as the CSU guarded their ideological right flank against potential far-right challengers. Philipp Adorf, Washington Post, "Angela Merkel’s governing alliance is increasingly frayed. Here’s why.," 3 July 2018 The White House repeated this tactic after Gorsuch was nominated, informing the media that the runners up were appellate judges Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, both of whom clerked for Kennedy as well. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Anthony Kennedy Strategy Was Calculated, With None of His Trademark Chaos," 29 June 2018 This Brennan tactic had not been cited in the grand jury report. Craig R. Mccoy, Philly.com, "In largest reported payout yet, Philadelphia Archdiocese settles abuse lawsuit," 25 June 2018 Jason Thompson, Whitley’s former coach at Alamo Heights, said Whitley deployed this tactic even after dominant performances. Carter Karels, San Antonio Express-News, "Whitley on a big-time tear," 22 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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Statistics for tactic

Last Updated

23 Mar 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

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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