[ tak-ti-kuh l ]
/ ˈtæk tɪ kəl /


of or relating to tactics, especially military or naval tactics.
characterized by skillful tactics or adroit maneuvering or procedure: tactical movements.
of or relating to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage.
expedient; calculated.
prudent; politic.

Origin of tactical

First recorded in 1560–70; tactic + -al1
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tactical

British Dictionary definitions for tactical


/ (ˈtæktɪkəl) /


of, relating to, or employing tacticsa tactical error
(of weapons, attacks, etc) used in or supporting limited military operationsa tactical missile; tactical bombing
skilful or diplomatica tactical manoeuvre
Derived Formstactically, 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

Word Origin and History for tactical



1560s, from Modern Latin tactica (see tactics); in reference to nuclear weapons (opposed to strategic) it is recorded from 1957. Related: Tactically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper