trade·​craft | \ ˈtrād-ˌkraft How to pronounce tradecraft (audio) \

Definition of tradecraft

: the techniques and procedures of espionage

Examples of tradecraft in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And, using cloak-and-dagger tradecraft that—like the expertise in violence—was a legacy of the war, the group ran surveillance and intelligence operations. The Economist, "When fascists and Jews battled on the streets of London," 19 Oct. 2019 All of which prompts a question: How on earth did Fox manage to get agency censors to sign off on illuminating so many details of CIA tradecraft? Mary Louise Kelly, Washington Post, "A look inside the CIA that the agency isn’t ready for you to see," 11 Sep. 2019 Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Hackers behind dangerous oil and gas intrusions are probing US power grids," 15 June 2019 The senators called agencies’ judgments well supported and their tradecraft strong. New York Times, "In a Fox-Inspired Tweetstorm, Trump Offers a Medley of Falsehoods and Misstatements," 3 July 2018 So did her study of Russian tradecraft, said former CIA officers who know her. Shane Harris, Washington Post, "Undercover to under scrutiny: Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, to face Senate grilling," 7 May 2018 One strong possibility is that Mr. Cuomo, who is running for a third term, tactically held his tongue in an act of political tradecraft. New York Times, "Cuomo Finally Says the Obvious: He Backs the Transit Rescue Plan," 31 May 2018 Still other former intelligence officials have also argued that the spy network might have been crippled by a combination of both, as well as sloppy tradecraft by agency officers in China. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "Ex-C.I.A. Officer Suspected of Compromising Chinese Informants Is Arrested," 16 Jan. 2018 John le Carré could not have done better justice to all the details of spy tradecraft (brush-contacts, secret recognition signals, counter-surveillance tactics) that went into the daring operation. Stephen Budiansky, WSJ, "‘The Spy and the Traitor’ Review: Inside the Mind of a Double Agent," 13 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tradecraft.' 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 tradecraft

1961, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for tradecraft

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The first known use of tradecraft was in 1961

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Statistics for tradecraft

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tradecraft.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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