1. A scheme or maneuver designed to achieve an objective, as in surprising an enemy or deceiving someone. See Synonyms at wile.
2. The devising or execution of such schemes or maneuvers: "This devious, insinuating creature, whose every word and movement seemed part of the spinning of some invisible net of stratagem" (Richard Adams).
[Middle English, from Old French stratageme, from Old Italian stratagemma, from Latin stratēgēma, from Greek, from stratēgein, to be a general, from stratēgos, general : stratos, army; see ster-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + agein, to lead; see ag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.