Etymology
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tact (n.)
1650s, "sense of touch or feeling" (with an isolated instance, tacþe from c. 1200), from Latin tactus "a touch, handling, sense of touch," from root of tangere "to touch," from PIE root *tag- "to touch, handle." Meaning "sense of discernment in action or conduct, diplomacy, fine intuitive mental perception" first recorded 1804, from development in French cognate tact. The Latin figurative sense was "influence, effect."
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tactual (adj.)
"pertaining to the sense of touch," 1640s, from Latin tactus "a touch" (see tact) + -al (1).
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tactful (adj.)
1844, from tact + -ful. Related: Tactfully; tactfulness.
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tactless (adj.)
"characterized by want of tact," 1830, from tact + -less. Related: Tactlessly; tactlessness.
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tack (n.3)
"food" in general, but in dialect especially "bad food," and especially among sailors "food of a bread kind," 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle (n.) in the sense of "gear." But compare tack "taste" (c. 1600), perhaps a variant of tact.
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engineer (v.)
1818, "act as an engineer," from engineer (n.). Figurative sense of "arrange, contrive, guide or manage (via ingenuity or tact)" is attested from 1864, originally in a political context. Related: Engineered. Middle English had a verb engine "contrive, construct" (late 14c.), also "seduce, trick, deceive" (c. 1300) and "put to torture."
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chic (n.)

1856, "style in fine art, artistic skill, faculty of producing excellence rapidly and easily," from French chic "stylishness" (19c.), originally "subtlety" (16c.), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps [Klein] it is related to German Schick, Geschick "tact, skill, aptness," from Middle Low German schikken "arrange appropriately," or Middle High German schicken "to arrange, set in order." Or perhaps it is from French chicane, from chicanerie "trickery" (see chicanery).

Meaning "Parisian elegance and stylishness combined with originality" is by 1882 (Pall Mall Gazette, Sept. 6, 1888, uses the word in a concert review and pauses to define it as "an untranslatable word, denoting an indispensable quality"). As an adjective, in reference to persons, "stylish," 1879 in English. "Not so used in F[rench]" [OED].

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tactical (adj.)
1560s, "pertaining to tactics," from Modern Latin tactica (see tactics) + -al (1). Meaning "characterized by adroit management" is from 1883. In reference to nuclear weapons ("for limited use in military operations," opposed to strategic) it is recorded from 1957. Related: Tactically.
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tactician (n.)
"expert in tactics," 1761, from tactic + -ian.
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tactic (n.)

1766, from Modern Latin tactica, from Greek taktikē (tekhnē) "(art of) arrangement," from fem. of taktikos "pertaining to arrangement" (see tactics). Earlier it meant "a tactician" (1630s), and was in use as an adjective meaning "tactical" (c. 1600).

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