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[strat-uh-juh m] /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.
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 forms
[strat-uh-jem-i-kuh l] /ˌstræt əˈdʒɛm ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
stratagemically, adverb
Can be confused
stratagem, strategy, tactic (see synonym study at strategy)
1, 2. See trick. 2. deception, intrigue, device, maneuver, contrivance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for stratagems
  • Ah, the tenure track and all of the anxiety and stratagems that it entails.
  • She had been prodigal of all her resources, money and energy and imaginative stratagems and loving kindness.
  • Few successful teachers are able to dispense with such stratagems completely in a pinch.
  • The people perceiving all the stratagems he made use of, to be affected, continued still in their choice.
  • The poets of the kosmos advance through all interpositions and coverings and turmoils, and stratagems to first principles.
  • The poets of the kosmos advance through all interpositions and coverings and turmoils and stratagems to first principles.
  • Sun's philosophy consists of a great many ingenious stratagems for outwitting an opponent.
  • Her husband's resort to campaign stratagems also smacks of desperation.
  • stratagems such as these suck the vitality out of politics.
  • There are also recognitions of the frailties of the inmates themselves, revealed in vicious and deceitful stratagems and deeds.
British Dictionary definitions for stratagems


a plan or trick, esp one to deceive an enemy
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for stratagems



"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
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