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

Roscosmos first tried to use the new maneuver last year, but it was aborted for technical reasons. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Seattle Times, "Russian cargo ship makes fastest-ever trip to space station," 10 July 2018 Roscosmos first tried to use the new maneuver last year, but it was aborted for technical reasons. Washington Post, "Russian cargo ship makes fastest-ever trip to space station," 10 July 2018 Ryan's message comes as moderates in the House are few as five votes away from forcing a vote on an package of immigration bills using a procedural maneuver known as a discharge petition. Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, "In conference, Ryan urges members to unite amid immigration civil war," 22 May 2018 Lord, comfortable with the exposure and delicate climbing maneuvers, had no trouble. The Atlantic, "Is Social Media Luring Hikers Into 'Death Gully'?," 17 May 2018 In a stunning legal maneuver, CBS Corporation is seeking a temporary restraining order barring Shari Redstone from re-marrying first cousins CBS and Viacom, which her father, the ailing media titan Sumner Redstone, split up intentionally in 2005. William D. Cohan, The Hive, "“The Nuclear Option”: With CBS Going to Court, Shari Redstone’s “Kabuki Theater” Falls Apart," 14 May 2018 Shortly afterward, the White House began talking with House GOP leaders about using a budget maneuver called rescission to cut some of the domestic spending. Erik Wasson,, "Balanced-Budget Constitutional Amendment Proposal Fails in House," 12 Apr. 2018 But the task is made all-the-more difficult by the fact that the waters are murky, and some of the sections of the cave require tight underwater maneuvers. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Why the trapped Thai soccer team is in increasing trouble: they’re running out of oxygen," 6 July 2018 In a classroom next door, some students performed robotics maneuvers for the governor. Pioneer Press,, "Rauner tours Niles West High School, says it could be 'model' for tech and career education," 26 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In other words, pick a judge with a very narrow margin in the U.S. Senate who could also successfully maneuver through confirmation hearing and garner the votes from a majority of senators. Fox News, "Sekulow: Kavanaugh will be a brilliant Supreme Court justice," 10 July 2018 The Pistons were able to maneuver without a first-round pick, traded away in January to land Blake Griffin. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' NBA draft should ease fan angst over front office," 22 June 2018 Sepucha provided Walsh little room to maneuver and the Franklin junior did not score. Josh Schafer,, "Vaughn spells victory for Concord-Carlisle girls’ lacrosse," 12 June 2018 Longtime Marines worried the changes might undermine squads in battle by disrupting their instinctive ability to maneuver together. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Why the Marine Corps Ditched the Best Offense in History," 28 June 2018 Japanese construction workers don a tabi toe to maneuver on dangerous scaffolding. April Wolfe,, "The tortured history of action-film heroines and their high heels ('Jurassic World,' anyone?)," 22 June 2018 This makes them good for satellites in space, which don’t require a whole lot of thrust to maneuver in a vacuum. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Here’s how Elon Musk might use rocket thrusters on the new Tesla Roadster," 16 June 2018 That kind of roster maneuvering won’t be an option with the Sixers, and LeBron has never played with a true ball-dominant big man like Embiid. David Murphy,, "Thinking out loud about the Sixers and LeBron James | David Murphy," 14 June 2018 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

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

9 Oct 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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