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

At the time, England star Harry Kane took their corners and free kicks, one of the many questionable tactical decisions that eventually cost Roy Hodgson his job. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "England’s Soccer Team Needed Help, So They Stole From the NBA," 2 July 2018 In the earlier decision, Zarella wrote for the majority that Sherman’s defense of Skakel was competent and based on sound tactical decisions. Edmund H. Mahony, courant.com, "Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Wins At Connecticut Supreme Court, Conviction Vacated In 1975 Slaying Of Martha Moxley," 4 May 2018 District supervisors analyze shooting data in real time through software called HunchLab to quickly determine where best to deploy their beat patrol and tactical officers. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "With high-tech help, there's been less bloodshed in Chicago this year, but results are mixed on the West Side," 4 July 2018 Irian Woodley, the tactical action officer and the surface warfare coordinator on duty on the Fitzgerald the morning of the June 17 collision. Jasmine Khayami And Elizabeth Strassner, USA TODAY, "Collisions reveal a Navy tragically undone by its can-do spirit," 25 June 2018 After the shooting, the agency deployed its tactical unit to the area and arrested an unspecified number of people. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Border Patrol agent shot near Arivaca in 'good spirits'; little known about shooter," 13 June 2018 Those techniques allow coordination of forces at sea, and their compromise can lend an enemy a huge tactical advantage in any conflict. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Chinese Hackers Steal Sensitive Data on U.S. Subs and Missiles from Military Contractor, Report Says," 10 June 2018 The suspect, who was not immediately identified, fatally shot himself in a hotel room as tactical units closed in to arrest him, police said on Monday. David Schwartz, Anchorage Daily News, "Suspected Arizona serial killer shoots himself as officers close in," 4 June 2018 Instead, there’s a more deliberate, tactical approach to battle. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "God of War’s first two hours show a more mature game," 19 Mar. 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

9 Sep 2018

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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Comments on tactical

What made you want to look up tactical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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