When the word strategy was first used in a 1616 translation of a Greek military text, it was a noun referring to the office of a general or commander. Later, it came to be metonymically applied to the plans and operations carried out by those offices, and by the late 1880s it was used in non-military contexts as well. It was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word strategos, meaning "general". That's composed of stratos, which meant "army" (but literally translates to "that which is spread out", from Proto-Indo-European stere, "spread"), and agos, meaning "leader" (traces to the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction ag, "to drive" or "draw forward"). Stratos is also the source of stratosphere and agein composes parts of glucagon, pedagogue, synagogue, agony, and many other words.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.