[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. tacrine hydrochloride,
  2. tact,
  3. tactful,
  4. tactfully,
  5. tactic,
  6. tactical air command,
  7. tactical unit,
  8. tactical voting,
  9. tactical wire,
  10. tactically

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