tac·​ti·​cal | \ ˈtak-ti-kəl How to pronounce tactical (audio) \

Definition of tactical

1 : of or relating to combat tactics: such as
a(1) : of or occurring at the battlefront a tactical defense a tactical first strike
(2) : using or being weapons or forces employed at the battlefront tactical missiles
b of an air force : of, relating to, or designed for air attack in close support of friendly ground forces
2a : of or relating to tactics: such as
(1) : of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose
(2) : made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view
b : adroit in planning or maneuvering to accomplish a purpose

Other Words from tactical

tactically \ ˈtak-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce tactical (audio) \ adverb

Examples of tactical in a Sentence

They gained a tactical advantage by joining with one of their competitors. He made a serious tactical error. The planes provided tactical air support for the soldiers on the ground.
Recent Examples on the Web Armed with an assault-style rifle and tactical gear, an 18-year-old suspect arrived Saturday afternoon at a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store on the city's Near East Side and shot four people in the parking lot, police said. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 17 May 2022 None of them escaped Tops supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon when a gunman in tactical gear opened fire on shoppers and employees, The Washington Post reported. Devlin Barrett, Washington Post, 16 May 2022 Salter was armed, and fired upon the shooter, who was wearing tactical gear and body armor. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, 15 May 2022 O’Connor said shooters can use such communities devoted to guns and tactical gear to plan their attacks. Ben Goggin, NBC News, 15 May 2022 Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Russian cyberattacks have been deployed to support the military’s strategic and tactical objectives. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 27 Apr. 2022 Russia has faced a series of strategic and tactical setbacks since its Feb. 24 invasion, including the failure of its forces to seize the capital, Kyiv, and its retreat from other cities in the north. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 The lines between strategic, tactical and operational decisions are blurring. Prashanth Southekal, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Backed by the images of Russia's vicious attack, Zelensky makes the historic, moral, strategic and tactical case for Ukraine's defense. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 9 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tactical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tactical

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tactical

tactic entry 1 or tactic entry 2 + -al entry 1

Note: An early use by the mathematician and occultist John Dee in his preface to Henry Billingsley's translation of Euclid's Elements (1570) is perhaps directly from Greek taktikós + -al entry 1.

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The first known use of tactical was in 1570

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tactical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactical. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tactical

Nglish: Translation of tactical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tactical for Arabic Speakers


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