tac·​ti·​cal ˈtak-ti-kəl How to pronounce tactical (audio)
: of or relating to combat tactics: such as
: of or occurring at the battlefront
a tactical defense
a tactical first strike
: using or being weapons or forces employed at the battlefront
tactical missiles
of an air force : of, relating to, or designed for air attack in close support of friendly ground forces
: of or relating to tactics: such as
: of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose
: made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view
: adroit in planning or maneuvering to accomplish a purpose
tactically 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 When a tactical unit of police officers breached the front door, attempting to execute the search warrant, a person inside opened fire with a gun, Penn said. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2023 For older kids in elementary school and beyond, consider something more tactical, like Bitsbox to foster independence and creativity. Brigitt Earley, Glamour, 5 Dec. 2023 But Eells, along with several local policing leaders, said tactical training is still lacking at the federal level. Simone Weichselbaum, NBC News, 5 Dec. 2023 Increasing cash holdings and substituting money-market funds for some of your longer-term bonds has been an effective tactical move over the last year or two, and cash may be considered part of a core, classic portfolio, though getting the timing right is tricky. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2023 To conclude, successful interview preparation requires a blend of extensive research, introspection, and tactical communication. Luciana Paulise, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 We’ve always been fascinated by tactical RPGs, RPGs, and tactical games from the ‘90s, the era of the 16-bit systems. Andrew Webster, The Verge, 23 Nov. 2023 The layout of the small, cluttered apartment posed several tactical disadvantages for officers, according to the report. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2023 The captains network was essential to the execution of large-scale picketing at multiple sites a day in Los Angeles and New York, in addition to tactical dispatches of picket teams to shut down location shoots. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tactical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tactical was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near tactical

Cite this Entry

“Tactical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactical. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


tac·​ti·​cal ˈtak-ti-kəl How to pronounce tactical (audio)
: of or relating to tactics
tactically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on tactical

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