ma·neu·ver | \ mə-ˈnü-vər , -ˈnyü- \

Definition of maneuver 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a military or naval movement

b : an armed forces training exercise especially : an extended and large-scale training exercise involving military and naval units separately or in combination often used in plural The army and navy conducted maneuvers as training for war.

2 : a procedure or method of working usually involving expert physical movement acrobats performing dangerous maneuvers

3a : evasive movement or shift of tactics permits no room for concession or maneuver —Harry Schwartz

b : an intended and controlled variation from a straight and level flight path in the operation of an airplane The aircraft performed such maneuvers as spins, loops, and inverted flights.

4a : an action taken to gain a tactical end this maneuver almost cost him the nomination —H. L. Mencken

b : an adroit and clever management of affairs often using trickery and deception plaintiffs' pretrial maneuvers may be fashioned more with an eye to deterrence or retaliation than to unearthing germane material —John Marshall


maneuvered; maneuvering\-ˈnü-və-riŋ, -ˈnyü-; -ˈn(y)üv-riŋ \

Definition of maneuver (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to perform a movement in military or naval tactics in order to secure an advantage The regiment maneuvered for several days before it was ready to attack.

b : to make a series of changes in direction and position for a specific purpose Ships maneuvered into their docks.

2 : to use stratagems : scheme maneuvered successfully to get him to ask her to the dance

transitive verb

1 : to cause to execute tactical movements We maneuvered our troops to the south.

2 : to manage into or out of a position or condition : manipulate maneuvered the cork out with his thumb —Kay Boyle

3a : to guide with adroitness and design maneuvered her guests until the talk at the table became general —Jean Statford

b : to bring about or secure as a result of skillful management maneuvered out of the council the funds to renovate the library

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Other words from maneuver


maneuverability \-ˌnü-və-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌnyü-; -ˌn(y)üv-rə- \ noun
maneuverable \-ˈnü-və-rə-bəl, -ˈnyü-; -ˈn(y)üv-rə- \ adjective
maneuverer \-ˈnü-vər-ər, -ˈnyü- \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for maneuver


trick, ruse, stratagem, maneuver, artifice, wile, feint mean an indirect means to gain an end. trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end. the tricks of the trade ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression. the ruses of smugglers stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy. the stratagem-filled game maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty. last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention. the clever artifices of the stage wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements. used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent. a feint toward the enemy's left flank

Examples of maneuver in a Sentence


With a quick maneuver, she avoided an accident. Through a series of legal maneuvers, the defense lawyer kept her client out of jail. He led his troops in a well-planned maneuver. To prepare for war, the army is performing maneuvers off the coast. The army is on maneuvers.


She maneuvered her car into the tiny garage. It took seven people to maneuver the tiger out of its cage. We had a hard time maneuvering our furniture through the doorway. The giant ships maneuvered into their docks. The vehicle easily maneuvered through rocky terrain. They held hands while maneuvering through the crowd. The companies are maneuvering for position in the limited market. Somehow, she always manages to maneuver herself out of difficult situations. We maneuvered our troops to the south. The opposing forces maneuvered quickly.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At that meeting in Singapore, Mr. Trump unexpectedly cancelled scheduled military maneuvers with South Korea without telling Seoul, to appease North Korea. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Trump Fuels Anxiety in Europe Over Security," 13 July 2018 That trip involved lots of shimmying and scrambling across uneven rock slabs and ledges, plus off-trail maneuvers. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 According to the National Archives and Records, Johnston got the idea after reading an article that talked about how the Army used Native American soldiers as signalmen during training maneuvers. Shondiin Silversmith, azcentral, "Navajo Code Talkers created an unbreakable code. It helped win World War II," 11 July 2018 The burglary suspect who tried that maneuver at a Golden Corral in Mount Airy, North Carolina, got stuck in the vent, however, according to police. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Burglar got stuck in Golden Corral exhaust vent. Then cooks fired up the grill, NC cops say," 11 July 2018 With both teams having exhausted their benches and bullpens, each manager resorted to drastic maneuvers to make it through to the finish. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins play into the Fourth of July, lose 16-inning marathon to Rays," 4 July 2018 But when free-agent maneuvers involve the very top tier of N.B.A. players, those players’ decisions can have an outsize impact on individual teams, the league more broadly and even entire cities. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "The N.B.A.’s Decider: How LeBron James Controls Fortunes," 29 June 2018 Parties can't build military bases, conduct military maneuvers, or test weapons of any kind—even conventional weapons—on another world. National Geographic, "Would a U.S. Space Force Be Legal? Get the Facts.," 19 June 2018 Two Russian military planes reportedly violated South Korea’s air defense zone multiple times Friday -- the latest provocative air maneuver from Russia, which has previously tested American and European zones. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Russian military planes violate South Korean air defense zone four times, report says," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her own party had only a small majority in the Parliament, narrowing her space to maneuver even further, and was itself deeply split over the form Brexit should take. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 According to the Biscayne Bay Pilots who navigate PortMiami's channels, huge cargo vessels with capacity for 11,000 TEUs are struggling to maneuver when entering the port from the ocean through the outer entrance channel. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Despite recent dredge, PortMiami still can't fit some large ships. New project in the works," 8 July 2018 Read more: Draft-night dealing The Pistons had to maneuver on draft night to land both wing prospects. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons will unveil 'pit bulls' during NBA summer league," 5 July 2018 Oklahoma City is maneuvering to part ways with Melo and has given the player the OK to shop himself. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Melo to Miami? How Heat’s interest in Carmelo Anthony reveals one team’s desperation," 11 July 2018 The tardiness also will pressure Airbus’s effort to ramp up production generally, reducing room for maneuvering in its schedule. Benjamin Katz, The Seattle Times, "Airbus will miss its A320neo delivery goal after engine problems," 3 July 2018 On Monday, Musk shared photos and videos of the rescue pod on Twitter, including footage of engineers testing the device in a pool in Los Angeles and maneuvering the metallic pod through a simulated narrow passageway underwater. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Elon Musk's rescue sub is on its way to Thailand," 9 July 2018 Anything than can maneuver can dazzle an enemy sat with a laser, disable it with grappling arms or a destroy it in an outright collision. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "5 Space Forces From Sci-Fi and What We Can Learn From Them," 6 July 2018 Our adversaries are developing hypersonic weapons and maneuvering missiles that threaten the United States’ ability to project power. Henry Obering Iii, Fortune, "I Used to Direct the Missile Defense Agency. America Needs New Weapons," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maneuver.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of maneuver


1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1777, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for maneuver


French manœuvre, from Old French maneuvre work done by hand, from Medieval Latin manuopera, from manu operare to perform manual labor — more at manure


see maneuver entry 1

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Learn More about maneuver

Phrases Related to maneuver

room for maneuver

Statistics for maneuver

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maneuver

The first known use of maneuver was in 1759

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More Definitions for maneuver



English Language Learners Definition of maneuver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a clever or skillful action or movement

: a planned movement of soldiers or ships

maneuvers : military activities that are done for training



English Language Learners Definition of maneuver (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move (something or someone) in a careful and usually skillful way

: to do something in an effort to get an advantage, get out of a difficult situation, etc.

: to move (soldiers, ships, etc.) where they are needed for battle


ma·neu·ver | \ mə-ˈnü-vər , -ˈnyü- \

Kids Definition of maneuver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : skillful action or management The driver avoided an accident by a quick maneuver.

2 : a training exercise by armed forces

3 : a planned movement of troops or ships


maneuvered; maneuvering

Kids Definition of maneuver (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to guide skillfully Our captain maneuvered the boat safely into the harbor.

2 : to move troops or ships where they are needed

Other words from maneuver

maneuverability \mə-ˌnü-və-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌnyü- \ noun
maneuverable \-ˈnü-və-rə-bəl, -ˈnyü- \ adjective


variants: or chiefly British manoeuvre \mə-ˈn(y)ü-vər \

Medical Definition of maneuver 

1 : a movement, procedure, or method performed to achieve a desired result and especially to restore a normal physiological state or to promote normal function the simplest maneuver to actuate the normal eustachian tube is to swallow —H. G. Armstrong — see heimlich maneuver, valsalva maneuver

2 : a manipulation to accomplish a change of position specifically : rotational or other movement applied to a fetus within the uterus to alter its position and facilitate delivery — see scanzoni maneuver

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Comments on maneuver

What made you want to look up maneuver? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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