stratagem

Synonym Chooser

How is the word stratagem different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of stratagem are artifice, feint, maneuver, ruse, trick, and wile. While all these words mean "an indirect means to gain an end," stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.

the stratagem-filled game

In what contexts can artifice take the place of stratagem?

While in some cases nearly identical to stratagem, artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention.

the clever artifices of the stage

When is feint a more appropriate choice than stratagem?

The synonyms feint and stratagem are sometimes interchangeable, but feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent.

a feint toward the enemy's left flank

When could maneuver be used to replace stratagem?

The meanings of maneuver and stratagem largely overlap; however, maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty.

last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy

Where would ruse be a reasonable alternative to stratagem?

The words ruse and stratagem are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression.

the ruses of smugglers

When would trick be a good substitute for stratagem?

While the synonyms trick and stratagem are close in meaning, trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end.

the tricks of the trade

When is it sensible to use wile instead of stratagem?

Although the words wile and stratagem have much in common, wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements.

used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself

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Cite this Entry

“Stratagem.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/stratagem. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

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