[ tak-ti-kuhl ]
See synonyms for tactical on Thesaurus.com
  1. of or relating to tactics, especially the placement of military or naval forces in battle or at the front line of a battle.

  2. characterized by skillful tactics or adroit maneuvering or procedure, especially of military or naval forces: tactical movements.

  1. (of a weapon) short range, as battlefield missiles: A tactical nuclear weapon would still present significant risks to battlefield troops on both sides of the conflict.: Compare strategic (def. 4b).

  2. of or relating to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage.

  3. expedient; calculated.

  4. prudent; politic.

Origin of tactical

First recorded in 1560–70; tactic + -al1

Other words from tactical

  • tac·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·tac·ti·cal, adjective
  • non·tac·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·tac·ti·cal, adjective
  • un·tac·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby tactical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tactical in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tactical


/ (ˈtæktɪkəl) /

  1. of, relating to, or employing tactics: a tactical error

  2. (of weapons, attacks, etc) used in or supporting limited military operations: a tactical missile; tactical bombing

  1. skilful or diplomatic: a tactical manoeuvre

Derived forms of tactical

  • tactically, adverb

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