[ strat-uh-juhm ]
/ ˈstræt ə dʒəm /


a plan, scheme, or trick for surprising or deceiving an enemy.
any artifice, ruse, or trick devised or used to attain a goal or to gain an advantage over an adversary or competitor: business stratagems.

Origin of stratagem

1480–90; (< Middle French stratageme) < Italian stratagemma war ruse < Latin stratēgēma < Greek stratḗgēma instance of generalship, derivative of stratēgeîn to be in command, derivative of stratēgós military commander (see strategy)
Related formsstrat·a·gem·i·cal [strat-uh-jem-i-kuhl] /ˌstræt əˈdʒɛm ɪ kəl/, adjectivestrat·a·gem·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedstratagem strategy

Synonym study

1, 2. See trick. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stratagem

British Dictionary definitions for stratagem


/ (ˈstrætɪdʒəm) /


a plan or trick, esp one to deceive an enemy

Word Origin for stratagem

C15: ultimately from Greek stratēgos a general, from stratos an army + agein to lead
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for stratagem



"artifice, trick," late 15c., from Middle French stratagème "trick, especially to outwit an enemy," from Italian stratagemma, from Latin strategema "artifice, stratagem," from Greek strategema "the act of a general, military stratagem," from strategein "to be a general, command," from strategos "general" (see strategy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper