Definition of stratagem in English:



  • 1A plan or scheme, especially one used to outwit an opponent or achieve an end.

    ‘a series of devious stratagems’
    • ‘If the hero wants to get the abducted girl home, and if the villain has discovered his plan, and means to subvert it, what stratagems will each employ in the last reel?’
    • ‘If we consider the stratagems of persuasive communication proposed by Pratkanis and Aronson, we can easily see how counteracting legends may be a difficult task.’
    • ‘As Anna and Claire's stratagems become more and more elaborate, Catherine's constant interruptions get funnier and funnier.’
    • ‘Fighting experience taught Soviet commanders a lot: they learned how to use stratagems and achieve surprise.’
    • ‘Government should use civilised stratagems to arrest those who fall short of the law.’
    • ‘By current standards, Eve is old-fashioned, her wiles and stratagems strictly based on aligning herself with men for their power rather than tapping into her own.’
    • ‘It is not that the statute has a penumbral spirit which strikes down devices or stratagems designed to avoid its terms or exploit its loopholes.’
    • ‘But they should be asking government to introduce new stratagems to cope with the inevitable ‘peaking out ‘of new housing output.’’
    • ‘Would he still not have to undergo a similar apprenticeship in stratagems and devices?’
    • ‘Eventually, by a series of stratagems, and in the face of continuing Treasury disapproval, he acquired it for the museum by instalments.’
    • ‘For the women Cable turns to legal stratagems to suggest extended possibilities.’
    • ‘There had been many battles, but the counterstrike and stratagems had been too late to save Illeth.’
    • ‘The plans and tactics are expressed, inter alia, in labour legislation, corporate policy, organised labour stratagems and day-to-day executive decisions.’
    • ‘Armed struggle forces the opponents to use all kinds of stratagems, to exploit all faults in their interests.’
    • ‘Often the market is not organized: an invisible hand guides the assignment, via offers and counter-offers, stratagems and influences, deals and deadlines.’
    • ‘Cunning plans, devious stratagems, state-of-the-art conventional forces, and legal and moral proscriptions, can all be helpful.’
    • ‘Then, Humphreys summarized the various stratagems with which Shajara and Fakhr al-Din hid Aiyub's death from outsiders.’
    • ‘There are conventions and stratagems for achieving the effect, and these are used as necessary.’
    • ‘Out of such stratagems was born the distinctively Dutch combination of individualism and communitarianism, which is still alive and well today.’
    • ‘Astute stratagems and surreptitious methods had been planned and executed only to fail.’
    plan, scheme, tactic, manoeuvre, move, course of action, line of action, ploy, gambit, device, wile
    trick, ruse, plot, machination, subterfuge, artifice, contrivance, expedient, dodge, deception, deceit
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    1. 1.1archaic [mass noun]Skill in devising plans or schemes; cunning.
      • ‘The US is effectively addressing the Islamic terror around he globe, through diplomacy, through stratagem and through the use of force depending on ground situation.’
      • ‘This approach emphasizes stratagem and maneuver over firepower and seeks to set the terms of conflict even before the opponent is aware conflict exists.’
      • ‘This is the method of attacking by stratagem.’
      • ‘Crad possessed not an inkling of the tact and stratagem of his father, and so their coming was long awaited.’
      • ‘Whether his resignation was tendered because of petulance or careful stratagem, he now has a real measure of the Government's dependence on him.’
      trickery, cunning, artfulness, craftiness, craft, wiles, chicanery, skulduggery, deceit, deception, artifice, cheating, dissimulation, double-dealing, artful argument, specious reasoning, sophistry, humbug, flimflam
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Late 15th century (originally denoting a military ploy): from French stratagème, via Latin from Greek stratēgēma, from stratēgein be a general, from stratēgos, from stratos army + agein to lead.