Definition of tactical in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtaktɪk(ə)l/


1Relating to or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end: as a tactical officer in the field he had no equal
More example sentences
  • That, he says, was the basis upon which the squad was chosen, rather than with a specific tactical plan in place.
  • Thus, they determine the feasibility of strategic and tactical plans.
  • The result is usually a plan focused at the tactical level driven by the Defense Department toward an exit strategy.
1.1(Of bombing or weapons) done or for use in immediate support of military or naval operations: NATO already has about 7,000 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe Often contrasted with strategic.
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  • The depot is the Army's center of technical excellence for air defense and tactical missile ground support equipment.
  • Washington was not aware of the presence of these tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems in Cuba.
  • He announced to the world the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba to house tactical nuclear weapons.
2Showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action: in a tactical retreat, she moved into a hotel with her daughters
More example sentences
  • In tactical planning on strategic and key issues for the country we can rely for a common position on parties from the left to the right.
  • Perhaps Shakespeare felt that a judicious tactical retreat following rehearsal criticism was in order, but that does not brand the line a mistake.
  • Increasingly, data are a vital component in strategic and tactical planning.
calculated, planned, plotted, prudent, strategic, politic, diplomatic, judicious, shrewd, skilful, adroit, clever, smart, cunning, artful, wily
informal foxy
3British (Of voting) aimed at preventing the strongest candidate from winning by supporting the next strongest, without regard to one’s true political allegiance: Labour supporters in the city organized a tactical voting campaign
More example sentences
  • The message emerging from Hamilton South and Ayr is that protest and tactical votes are shifting voters dramatically.
  • In other words, Labour would have had a landslide election victory in 1997 even if no tactical vote had been cast.
  • Now while such achievements are laudable, tactical vote swapping should, if it is to be organised by a third party, be run on a non-partisan basis.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'relating to military or naval tactics'): from Greek taktikos (see tactic) + -al.

Words that rhyme with tactical

impractical, practical, syntactical

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tac|tic¦al

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