A deception either by words or actions, in times of
war, in order to obtain an advantage over an enenly.
2. Such stratagems, though contrary to morality, have been justified,
unless they have been accompanied by perfidy, injurious to the rights of
humanity, as in the example given by Vattel of an English frigate, which during
a war between France and England, appeared off Calais and made signals of
distress in order to allure some vessel to come to its relief, and seized a
shallop and its crew, who had generously gone out to render it assistance.
Vattel, Droit des Gens, liv. 3, c. 9, §178.
3. Sometimes stratagems are employed in making, contracts, this is
unlawful and fraudulent, and avoids the contract. See Fraud.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition