Definition of tactical in US English:

tactical

adjective

  • 1Relating to or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end.

    ‘as a tactical officer in the field he had no equal’
    • ‘The Seleucids echeloned their right cavalry wing forward to gain tactical advantage.’
    • ‘She'd ordered her tactical officer to keep her eyes on the enemy carrier.’
    • ‘Last month she joined the US National Guard and quickly impressed her commanding officers with her tactical genius.’
    • ‘Does one airplane, one bomb, one target represent strategic air power or tactical employment of aviation?’
    • ‘Despite its size, Iwo Jima was considered to have great tactical importance.’
    • ‘But the Army planned a much greater tactical role for the helicopter in Vietnam.’
    • ‘The company tactical officers incorporate feedback into biannual counseling for cadets.’
    • ‘Four well-armed officers clearly had a tactical advantage if they used good judgement and training.’
    • ‘Throughout eight tactical scenarios the officers are required to quickly develop, communicate and execute their mission.’
    • ‘Next, you wonder how to organize an entire brigade combat team's equipment to flow according to the tactical plan.’
    • ‘I called to my tactical officer, as I fastened the last strap of the restraining harness snugly across my shoulders.’
    • ‘As a field commander he combined an icy calm and plain common sense with great tactical flair.’
    • ‘The cost is the alienation of mainstream Arabs - tactical gain for strategic loss, or at least so it appears on the surface.’
    • ‘Thus, they determine the feasibility of strategic and tactical plans.’
    • ‘That, he says, was the basis upon which the squad was chosen, rather than with a specific tactical plan in place.’
    • ‘The result is usually a plan focused at the tactical level driven by the Defense Department toward an exit strategy.’
    • ‘The sheer numbers and volume of traffic to and from Iraq, from the tactical to the strategic level, were significant.’
    • ‘After the fall of France the Luftwaffe was in a very favourable geographical position for operations against England, but it did not have any overall tactical plan.’
    • ‘The squadron's first officer is also our security and tactical officer.’
    • ‘Similarly, Israel had gained a tactical victory but could not afford to pressure the Soviets further.’
    1. 1.1 (of bombing or weapons) done or for use in immediate support of military or naval operations.
      Often contrasted with strategic
      • ‘The depot is the Army's center of technical excellence for air defense and tactical missile ground support equipment.’
      • ‘The center also plans, directs and controls the sorties that provide troops with a constant tactical air support.’
      • ‘Close-range striking or longer-range missile or projectile weapons provide tactical hitting or firepower.’
      • ‘Two new tactical rifles are now available from companies which were once known as handgun manufacturers.’
      • ‘This was also the war where chemical agents were first openly used as tactical weapons.’
      • ‘If it turned out to be a large enemy unit, then the division would employ a larger force as well as artillery and tactical air support.’
      • ‘Washington was not aware of the presence of these tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems in Cuba.’
      • ‘The administration began a conventional military build-up, and increased the number and types of tactical nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘I have always disliked the Glock as a tactical weapon because it has no second strike capability.’
      • ‘Luftwaffe tactical support for ground operations during the rest of the campaign remained spotty and ineffectual.’
      • ‘Tenacious dedication to the simple but demanding task, plus tactical air support, allowed the division to survive.’
      • ‘The Air Force objected to the Army having such a capability because tactical air support was the role of the Air Force.’
      • ‘He announced to the world the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba to house tactical nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘There were virtually no tactical attack bombers of any value.’
      • ‘Six modules designed to support tactical air operations arrive and are placed at the far end of the ramp.’
      • ‘We need a binding and verifiable agreement on tactical nuclear weapons immediately.’
      • ‘Numbered air forces are tactical echelons, providing operational leadership and supervision.’
      • ‘With production under way, the timing was right to shift attention to the tactical missile threat.’
      • ‘Rehearsals and supervision are critical when supporting tactical operations.’
    2. 1.2 (of a person or their actions) showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action.
      ‘in a tactical retreat, she moved into a hotel with her daughters’
      • ‘Increasingly, data are a vital component in strategic and tactical planning.’
      • ‘Thatcher lost nothing, making only a tactical retreat from a skirmish to prepare for the real battle.’
      • ‘Leading any cricketing side calls for tactical acumen, that ability to create situations and victories.’
      • ‘Perhaps Shakespeare felt that a judicious tactical retreat following rehearsal criticism was in order, but that does not brand the line a mistake.’
      • ‘Many players have tactical abilities far beyond their rating, but are positionally pathetic.’
      • ‘That's how humanity works, we only fix things after they've gone wrong, we're awful at tactical planning.’
      • ‘McEwen, for his part, did a great tactical final kilometer to win that one.’
      • ‘The problem is that as a small company, it needs to be smarter and more tactical to get its product into the hands of the right people at the right time.’
      • ‘Many of the old inadequacies returned: the hesitancy in decision-making, the impoverished tactical acumen.’
      • ‘The police accept that tactical errors were made during the first week and a half of the investigation.’
      • ‘Gabriel often relied more upon cunning and tactical exploitation than raw power which the others seemed to possess.’
      • ‘This tactical retreat by the government will do little to resolve the problem.’
      • ‘In the final analysis, the factional differences no matter how bitter are purely tactical.’
      • ‘The apparently mild response in New Delhi, at least at present, is purely tactical.’
      • ‘On the most burning issue, the war in Iraq, Kerry's differences with Bush are purely tactical.’
      • ‘He will be responsible for the planning and execution of tactical marketing strategies.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that he has a sound tactical or strategic sense.’
      • ‘Phil Howell produced good tactical kicking and Saracens led 0-29 at the interval.’
      • ‘In tactical planning on strategic and key issues for the country we can rely for a common position on parties from the left to the right.’
      • ‘Remember, there aren't many who will trust you for a while, so your moves may become more tactical than diplomatic for a while, but that's okay.’
      calculated, planned, plotted, prudent, strategic, politic, diplomatic, judicious, shrewd, skilful, adroit, clever, smart, cunning, artful, wily
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century (in the sense ‘relating to military or naval tactics’): from Greek taktikos (see tactic) + -al.

Pronunciation

tactical

/ˈtæktək(ə)l//ˈtaktək(ə)l/