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It's not in the OED yet, but it's in Wikipedia, and in Ross Douthat's most recent blog post, "A Teachable Moment", NYT 10/16/2013:

According to the Wikipedia article,

The word "strategery" (/strəˈtiːdʒəri/ strə-tee-jər-ee) was coined for a Saturday Night Live sketch, written by James Downey, airing October 7, 2000, which satirized the performances of George W. Bush and Al Gore, two candidates for President of the United States, during the first presidential debate for election year 2000. Comedian Will Ferrell played Bush and used the word "strategery" (a mock-Bushism playing on the word "strategy"), when asked by a mock debate moderator to summarize "the best argument for his campaign", thus satirizing Bush's reputation for mispronouncing words. The episode was later released as part of a video tape titled Presidential Bash 2000.

After the 2000 presidential election, people inside the Bush White House reportedly began using the term as a joke, and it later grew to become a term of art among them meaning oversight of any activity by Bush's political consultants. Bush's strategists also came to be known within the White House as "The Department of Strategery" or the "Strategery Group."

Apparently strategery has been generalized to mean "political planning on the part of Republican politicians on the national level". Or maybe it was just a typo.


  1. Rodger C said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    And then there's "stragedy."

  2. Chris Adams said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 7:51 am

    In the usage I've seen, there's also a strong whiff of brilliant plans which weren't as well thought out as claimed, no doubt from later usage after Iraq turned out to require a step 2. This would definitely be compatible with the mad scramble to figure out an acceptable end to the shutdown.

  3. Ginger Yellow said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 8:00 am

    I see it used quite frequently on videogaming forums. I don't know how much of that is conscious and how much is just in error – it doesn't seem to have any different connotations in that context than "strategy" would.

  4. Mark said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    Coworkers around me use this every week with the more generalized meaning of "poorly thought-out plan". Examples: "My software roll-out strategery needs some work" and "If that's the best strategery you can come up with we're doomed."

    It is often used to imply that someone's plan is actually a non-plan… that they wrote down general steps but are really going to just fake their way through a process when they actually perform the duty.

  5. GeorgeW said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    I vote 'typo.' Douthat is a serious and traditional thinker. However, I would think that both he and the Times would use spell checkers (or maybe this made it to some spell checkers?)

  6. Jonathan Gress-Wright said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 9:35 am

    If "strategery" really did become part of Republican jargon (even if ironic at first), perhaps Douthat is using the word in that sense? I don't think it's quite replaced "strategy" yet (though if it's being used widely and un-self-consciously on videogaming forums, perhaps it will start competing with "strategy" more generally).

  7. Colin Fine said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 9:35 am

    I've never met the word before, but I took it as a blend of "strategy" and a suffix "-ery" (which I've also not consciously noticed before) meaning "something underhand", as in "trickery" and "skullduggery".

  8. Erica said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    When I see "strategery" used in a gaming context, it's usually needling or self-deprecating (i.e. a boneheaded move), though I have also seen it apparently used as simply a light-hearted synonym for "strategy".

    I would also note, though, that unlike "strategy", I never see "strategery" used as a count noun. You can have two strategies, but not *two strategeries. As Colin Fine mentions, this is probably because of the association with mass nouns like "trickery".

  9. Ginger Yellow said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    When I see "strategery" used in a gaming context, it's usually needling or self-deprecating (i.e. a boneheaded move), though I have also seen it apparently used as simply a light-hearted synonym for "strategy".

    I had that intuition myself, but a quick empirical check of one of the forums I frequent showed it being used as a direct synonym in most cases. Of course, maybe different communities have different shared meanings.

  10. George Grady said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    Rush Limbaugh uses the word "strategery" quite often, which has undoubtedly helped its spread since its coinage on SNL.

  11. James said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

    It's obviously an intentional reference, and a humorous one. Douthat writes, "I … stress once more the essential absurdity of the … gambit we've just witnessed … collapse. However you slice and dice … the strategery …."

    He's emphasizing the ridiculousness and failure of the plan.

  12. Ken Brown said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    I'm not familiar with the word. My first guess at it was that a strategery was a room full of people whose job is making up strategies.

  13. ShadowFox said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

    I've been seeing the word for years but haven't really followed it too closely. I noticed two senses, depending on the speaker. Some use it as mocking for poor strategy, but others use it in earnest to represent the act of producing a strategy.

    And, no, @GeorgeW, Dothat is not a serious thinker if he can justify Catholic Church coverup of pedophile priests by pointing to sexual revolution of the 1960s. He's a hack. He might be an occasionally-silver-tongued hack, but still a hack.

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