Share this entry

tactical Syllabification: tac·ti·cal
Pronunciation: /ˈtaktək(ə)l/

Definition of tactical in English:


1Of, relating 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. Often contrasted with strategic.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.2(Of a person or their actions) showing 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, strategic;
prudent, politic, diplomatic, judicious, shrewd, cunning, artful


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



Pronunciation: /ˈtaktək(ə)lē/
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.

Words that rhyme with tactical

impractical, practical, syntactical

Definition of tactical in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day luxe
Pronunciation: ləks
expensive and of high quality; luxurious