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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Three members of the tactical team returned fire and Lang was struck several times before being taken into custody, Mortvedt told reporters. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "Veteran Iowa State trooper shot and killed in line of duty by barricaded man, officials say," 11 Apr. 2021 The sergeant then ordered a tactical team to remove Silva from the cell. Kelly Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County agrees to pay $3.5M to settle 2018 jail death," 5 Apr. 2021 The man was shot by a member of the police’s tactical team. Sara Tabin, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Man shot by police during standoff in Washington County," 17 Mar. 2021 The lieutenant was also unaware, those briefed on his account said, that a tactical team from the Capitol Police was climbing the stairwell behind Ms. Babbitt, intending to reinforce the area and clear out the rioters. New York Times, "Inside the Deadly Capitol Shooting," 21 Jan. 2021 After 12 people were killed in a 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, the BBC reported that an armed Capitol Police tactical team was nearby when initial reports came in about an active shooter. Anchorage Daily News, "With big budget but little accountability, siege raises questions for long-troubled Capitol Police," 12 Jan. 2021 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent two tactical teams. Star Tribune, "Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob," 8 Jan. 2021 Suddenly, a father-daughter trip to get ice cream or a visit to a bookstore was a major production, involving road closures, tactical teams, and the press. Natalie Gontcharova, refinery29.com, "President Obama Opens Up About Michelle, Malia & Sasha — & The “Burden” They Bore During His Presidency," 15 Dec. 2020 Police spent hours trying to coax the man from the home, blaring amplified messages in English and Spanish as tactical teams slowly inched their way inside. Bryn Stole, NOLA.com, "Bomb scare, gunfire shut down part of French Quarter for hours," 11 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for tactical

Time Traveler

The first known use of tactical was in 1570

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Statistics for tactical

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tactical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactical. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for tactical



English Language Learners Definition of tactical

: of, relating to, or used for a specific plan that is created to achieve a particular goal in war, politics, etc.

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