tactic

1 of 3

noun

tac·​tic ˈtak-tik How to pronounce tactic (audio)
1
: a device for accomplishing an end
2
: a method of employing forces in combat

tactic

2 of 3

adjective

: of or relating to arrangement or order

-tactic

3 of 3

adjective combining form

1
: of, relating to, or having (such) an arrangement or pattern
phonotactic
2
: showing orientation or movement directed by a (specified) force or agent
geotactic

Note: Adjectives formed with -tactic usually correspond to nouns ending in -taxis.

Examples of tactic in a Sentence

Noun an effective tactic for solving crimes We may need to change tactics. a specialist in naval tactics
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The files of the General Security Service, though, mention tactics like censorship, intimidation and surveillance rather than physical violence. Ronen Bergman, New York Times, 13 May 2024 By tapping into Google’s Gemini for the iPhone, Apple would be associating itself with these tactics. Katie Paul, Fortune, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for tactic 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

borrowed from New Latin tactica "art of deploying troops in combat," borrowed from Greek taktikḗ (originally modifying téchnē "art, skill "), noun derivative from feminine of taktikós "of ordering or arranging, of ordering troops in combat"; in recent use also as back-formation from tactics — more at tactic entry 2

Adjective

borrowed from Greek taktikós "of ordering or arranging, of ordering troops in combat," from taktós "ordered, prescribed" (verbal adjective of tássein —Attic táttein— "to draw up in order [as troops, ships], post, station, place in order, prescribe, assess," of uncertain origin) + -ikos -ic entry 1

Note: The derivative noun tagḗ "line of battle" (and possibly Thessalian tāgós "commander") show that the base of the verb was tag-, which should have resulted in *tázein rather than tássein; the latter was presumably introduced from generalization of the voiceless consonant in the aorist and in derivatives such as taktós, táxis, etc. The base tag- has been compared with the Parthian title tgmdr (read as *taɣma-dára "order-giver"), Old Persian ham-ataxšata "they have put in order," Tocharian B tāś "commander," and (semantically much more distant) Lithuanian patogùs "convenient, comfortable," sutógti "to get married, ally oneself." R. Beekes proposes a verb *teh2g-, invoking a law to delete the laryngeal in order to avoid positing a base with *a (Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2010).

Adjective combining form

borrowed from Greek -taktikos, after pairs such as prótaxis "placement in front, prefixing," protaktikós "used as a prefix" — more at tactic entry 2

First Known Use

Noun

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1871, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tactic was in 1640

Dictionary Entries Near tactic

Cite this Entry

“Tactic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactic. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

tactic

noun
tac·​tic
ˈtak-tik
1
: a method of arranging and moving forces in combat
2
: a planned action for a particular purpose

Medical Definition

tactic

adjective
tac·​tic ˈtak-tik How to pronounce tactic (audio)
1
: regular in structure of repeating units in a polymer
2
: of, relating to, or showing biological taxis
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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