Synonyms of stratagem

a clever often underhanded means to achieve an end
  • tried various stratagems to get the cat into the carrier, but the feisty feline was wise to them all

Synonyms for stratagem

Words Related to stratagem

Phrases Synonymous with stratagem

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About stratagem

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stratagem

Time Traveler for stratagem

Time Traveler

The first known use of stratagem was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about stratagem

Cite this Entry

“Stratagem.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on stratagem

Dictionary: Definition of stratagem

Nglish: Translation of stratagem for Spanish Speakers

Comments on stratagem

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!