Definition of tactical in English:


Line breaks: tac|tic¦al
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
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    • 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
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    • 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
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    • 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.



More example sentences
  • It is important that school inspectors deal with this situation more tactically to root out mismanagement therein.
  • Counterinsurgency warfare is strategically and tactically difficult.
  • We've not seen that in great numbers but if it was to occur it would be a serious problem tactically for the coalition.


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

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