Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English stratageme, from Old French stratageme, from Latin strategema, from Ancient Greek στρατήγημα (stratḗgēma, the act of a general, a piece of generalship), from στρατηγέω (stratēgéō, to be a general, command an army), from στρατηγός (stratēgós, a general, the leader or commander of an army). See strategy.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈstɹæt.ə.d͡ʒəm/
  • (file)


stratagem (countable and uncountable, plural stratagems)

  1. A tactic or artifice designed to gain the upper hand, especially one involving underhanded dealings or deception.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 265:
      She will not yet be permitted to return to the Manor House: it is too convenient for 'treasons, stratagems,' &c.; and it is as well not to be put in the way of temptation: but she will be allowed perfect liberty in London.
    • 2012 March 22, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games[1]:
      While Collins does include a love triangle, a coming-of-age story, and other YA-friendly elements in the mix, they serve as a Trojan horse to smuggle readers into a hopeless world where love becomes a stratagem and growing up is a matter of basic survival.
  2. Specifically, such a tactic or artifice in military operation.
  3. (uncountable) Military deception or artifice.
  4. (uncountable) Cunning and artifice in general.
  5. (obsolete) A violent deed.

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Old French[edit]


From Latin strategema, from Ancient Greek στρατήγημα (stratḗgēma).


stratagem m (oblique plural stratagens, nominative singular stratagens, nominative plural stratagem)

  1. strategy; stratagem