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[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
1560-70; tactic + -al1
Related forms
tactically, adverb
nontactical, adjective
nontactically, adverb
untactical, adjective
untactically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tactical
  • They can goad us into tactical errors and strategic blunders.
  • As well as these tactical benefits, suicide terrorism offers a strategic one.
  • But although robots have clear tactical advantages, they carry a heavy strategic price.
  • These tactical nuclear weapons are much more dangerous than strategic ones since they are more likely to be used.
  • Such tactical advances are being joined by a more strategic use of ethnography.
  • Given that human society is complex, it's not clear that tactical efficacy implies strategic efficacy.
  • He is a deliberate strategic thinker-ham-fisted at times, but also capable of tactical brilliance.
  • But this is tactical, rather than strategic, bullishness.
  • But when you're tactical as well as tactful, you can often do your best teaching.
  • Her parliamentary colleagues are questioning her tactical skills.
British Dictionary definitions for tactical


of, relating to, or employing tactics: a tactical error
(of weapons, attacks, etc) used in or supporting limited military operations: a tactical missile, tactical bombing
skilful or diplomatic: a tactical manoeuvre
Derived Forms
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
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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
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