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ma·​neu·​ver mə-ˈnü-vər How to pronounce maneuver (audio)
: a military or naval movement
: 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.
: a procedure or method of working usually involving expert physical movement
acrobats performing dangerous maneuvers
: evasive movement or shift of tactics
permits no room for concession or maneuverHarry Schwartz
: 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.
: an action taken to gain a tactical end
this maneuver almost cost him the nominationH. L. Mencken
: 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 materialJohn Marshall


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maneuvered; maneuvering mə-ˈnü-və-riŋ How to pronounce maneuver (audio)

intransitive verb

: 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.
: to make a series of changes in direction and position for a specific purpose
Ships maneuvered into their docks.
: to use stratagems : scheme
maneuvered successfully to get him to ask her to the dance

transitive verb

: to cause to execute tactical movements
We maneuvered our troops to the south.
: to manage into or out of a position or condition : manipulate
maneuvered the cork out with his thumbKay Boyle
: to guide with adroitness and design
maneuvered her guests until the talk at the table became generalJean Statford
: to bring about or secure as a result of skillful management
maneuvered out of the council the funds to renovate the library
mə-ˌnü-və-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce maneuver (audio)
mə-ˈnü-və-rə-bəl How to pronounce maneuver (audio)
maneuverer 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

Example Sentences

Noun 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. Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Modern tanks are a part of mechanized maneuver operations, a big part of it, and that is no doubt why President Zelensky continues to seek the addition of tanks into his into his arsenal. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 18 Jan. 2023 Impressive suction power, easy-to-maneuver designs and useful onboard tools are some of the key reasons that Dyson vacuums have earned a reputation for being premium cleaning machines. Chicago Tribune, 17 Jan. 2023 While their grandfather had sought to duck taxes by claiming California residency, Sonn was helping the granddaughters attempt that maneuver in reverse. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 16 Jan. 2023 The series released an emotional clip of the forthcoming episode, showing the special way Watt's family paid tribute to the future Hall of Famer, a maneuver apparently orchestrated by Cardinals defensive line coach Matt Burke. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 12 Jan. 2023 Some Republican leaders described it as a political maneuver to tarnish the local GOP over a national event, while Democrats accused them of trying to minimize the Capitol attack. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 6 Jan. 2023 Such a maneuver could potentially result in the Democratic leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, being elected Speaker, though that is an unlikely scenario. Eric Cortellessa, Time, 6 Jan. 2023 In a shift from training only small units to operate specific weapons systems, the allies are now pulling thousands of Ukrainian soldiers off the front lines for combined maneuver training in Europe. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2023 As a political maneuver, trying to overturn the 2020 election was a miserable failure. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 4 Jan. 2023
Guards found no room to maneuver, much less catch, drive or shoot. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Jan. 2023 The joystick control allows everyone, even novice users, to easily maneuver their way through the water, and an optional pan and tilt thermal camera improves safety by revealing vessels or other obstacles at night. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 5 Jan. 2023 From here, the company is hoping to establish a communication link with the commercial Moon lander, then maneuver it into orbit. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 12 Dec. 2022 The President and his staff spent months scheming about how, exactly, to maneuver him out. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 With its ability to maneuver over or around obstacles and semiautonomous operating system, Bixler said a Spot would be more useful in these types of situations than the 11 wheeled or tracked robots and five drones the department currently uses. Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2022 Thanks to standard rear-wheel steering, the exotic coupe isn't too hard to maneuver in tight spots. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 13 Dec. 2022 Instead of sweeping with a heavy vacuum that's difficult to maneuver, consider purchasing one of the best stick vacuums. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Nov. 2022 Zappe’s play-action fake and his ability to maneuver in the pocket before delivering an accurate pass here are excellent: On defense, New England held a stout, No. Tyler Dragon, USA TODAY, 18 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1777, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of maneuver was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near maneuver

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ma·​neu·​ver mə-ˈn(y)ü-vər How to pronounce maneuver (audio)
: a planned movement of troops or ships
: a training exercise by armed forces
: a clever or skillful move or action
avoided an accident by a quick maneuver


2 of 2 verb
maneuvered; maneuvering -ˈn(y)üv-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce maneuver (audio)
: to move (as troops or ships) in a maneuver
: to perform a maneuver
: to manage skillfully
: to use trickery : scheme
maneuverability noun
maneuverable adjective

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British manoeuvre
: 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 swallowH. G. Armstrong
see heimlich maneuver, valsalva maneuver
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on maneuver

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