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.
- A tactic or artifice designed to gain the upper hand, especially one involving underhanded dealings or deception.
- 1837, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill, volume 2, 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:
- 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.
- Specifically, such a tactic or artifice in military operation.
- c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. […] The First Part […], part 1, 2nd edition, London: […] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, […], published 1592, OCLC 932920499; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire; London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act I, scene ii:
- His fiery eies are fixt vpon the earth.
As if he now deuiſ’d some Stratageme:
Or meant to pierce Auernus darkſome vauts.
To pull the triple headed dog from hell.
- (uncountable) Military deception or artifice.
- (uncountable) Cunning and artifice in general.
- (obsolete) A violent deed.
- stratagem at OneLook Dictionary Search