tac·​ti·​cal | \ ˈtak-ti-kəl \

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 \ 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

Hadid is the latest to wear the warcore look, a tactical, brace-for-bad-impact aesthetic. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Takes Virgil Abloh’s “Warcore” Vest to the Street," 10 Jan. 2019 Fighter and other tactical aircraft pilots are getting a new device that will make urinating and flying a lot easier a task. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "New Device Helps Fighter Pilots Pee at 30,000 Feet," 3 Jan. 2019 Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images What’s next for the GND Though the committee fight was discouraging (and not everyone agrees about its tactical wisdom), its reverberations reached well beyond DC. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 What remains is a bare-bones mechanical core that still manages to generate a succession of dramatic moments and thorny tactical dilemmas. Owen Duffy, Ars Technica, "Wildlands may be the slickest, simplest fantasy skirmish game ever made," 1 Dec. 2018 That procedure includes bringing more officers to the scene, including a tactical team and negotiators. Ian Cummings, Glenn E. Rice And Joe Robertson, kansascity, "KCPD fatal shootings: Man in downtown fight pointed gun, woman with sword ran at cops," 20 June 2018 While the tactical changes and flexibility have been key to Portland's recent success, Savarese said that the improved mentality and fight in the group has been the most important shift for the Timbers. Jamie Goldberg, OregonLive.com, "Portland Timbers have found success through key tactical changes and an improved mentality," 24 May 2018 Robert Fisher was taken into custody by a state police tactical team at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and charged with breach of peace, threatening and reckless endangerment. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Litchfield Man Arrested By State Police Tactical Team Possessed 'Multiple Weapons'," 20 May 2018 Rural Metro was assisted by the Phoenix and Glendale fire departments' tactical teams in the rescue effort, Gilleland added. Victor Ren, azcentral, "Woman rescued from mountain trail near Cave Creek after 5 hours," 13 Apr. 2018

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

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Statistics for tactical

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tactical

The first known use of tactical was in 1570

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on tactical

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tactical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tactical

Spanish Central: Translation of tactical

Nglish: Translation of tactical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tactical for Arabic Speakers

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