Definition of tactic in US English:



  • 1An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.

    ‘the minority attempted to control the Council by a delaying tactic’
    ‘these are possible tax-saving tactics to discuss with your accountant’
    • ‘It is a tactic that may be desired when taking on the very best in Europe.’
    • ‘It is an old tactic and the only one to resort to when you are caught the way they have been.’
    • ‘I am pretty sure this is a negotiating tactic to get me to buy him that drum machine.’
    • ‘I think it's just a deliberate tactic they use to keep the game at their pace.’
    • ‘This is our usual tactic, to let her wake up all the way before we go in and get her out of bed.’
    • ‘This is a deliberate tactic to cover up the cheaper prices of my bus trips.’
    • ‘His tactic is to approach strangers asking for money, often bursting into tears.’
    • ‘It's a wise tactic, and one that helps keep her performances honest, raw and real.’
    • ‘You do not have to accept an investigation that drags on for years - a tactic some inspectors use.’
    • ‘This isn't a bad tactic as it can rile players and make them make rash judgement calls in the hope that they can knock you out.’
    • ‘I am glad I was talking to him out of the window, as his next tactic would probably have been to jam his foot in the door.’
    • ‘He copied the tactic to win his first race and continues to ride with the same enthusiasm six years on.’
    • ‘At two schools at which he has used the same tactic, grades have improved through the homework ban.’
    • ‘So then I tried the tactic of being withdrawn and cool and the relationship just disappeared.’
    • ‘There are signs that the tactic is paying off, even among staunch supporters of evolution.’
    • ‘A favourite tactic is to slowly move up and down the platform quietly expelling air.’
    • ‘Their only tactic seems to be to shock their client's way into the headlines.’
    • ‘She says that not only does the tactic make the corruption seem less severe, it is less inflammatory.’
    • ‘I mused over this for a few moments before picking the tactic I thought would reap the best results.’
    • ‘Once he spotted Dylan, his musical hero, at an airport and tried the same tactic.’
    strategy, scheme, stratagem, plan, set of tactics, manoeuvre, course of action, line of action
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    1. 1.1also treated as singular The art of disposing armed forces in order of battle and of organizing operations, especially during contact with an enemy.
      ‘basic infantry tactics were taught by guest instructors’
      Often contrasted with strategy
      • ‘He later wrote books on military tactics, advocating a highly mechanised army.’
      • ‘It's science fiction but it gives a good inside on war strategies and tactics.’
      • ‘British tactics as well as strategy tended to err on the side of caution, American on the side of rashness.’
      • ‘After the war he defended what he did by writing the following article to explain his strategy and tactics.’
      • ‘Our tactics and logistics may indeed be weak, but surely we must protect our officers and men?’
      • ‘His victory was not marked by a surrender but by a change of enemy tactics.’
      • ‘He grew to be a fine lad and his education consisted of the use of weapons and military tactics.’
      • ‘This is not surprising at all, since the tactics used owe themselves directly to Israel.’
      • ‘Her part in the briefings related to tactics, posting of officers and health and safety.’
      • ‘The effect was that they did not have a very good grasp of strategy and tactics.’
      • ‘However, tactics from this war to 1914 had not changed to fit in with this new weapon.’
      • ‘The American tactics relied on the peculiar characteristics of carrier warfare.’
      • ‘The Indian army used classic counterinsurgency tactics, taught to them by the British.’
      • ‘The Assyrian king had total control over the targets, tactics and deployment of his army.’
      • ‘It is all too easy to focus in the minute details of operational tactics and to miss the broad sweep of strategy.’
      • ‘In both cases we start with solidarity, and participate in debates about strategy and tactics.’
      • ‘Each of those battles offers a contrasting type of military tactics, terrain and drama.’
      • ‘If you want to beat your enemy, you must know your enemy and study the tactics of your enemy.’
      battle plans, plans, game plans
      View synonyms


Mid 18th century: from modern Latin tactica, from Greek taktikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of tactics’, feminine of taktikos, from taktos ‘ordered, arranged’, from the base of tassein ‘arrange’.