1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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

Examples of maneuver in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
But after Newsom’s maneuver, leaders will delay acting on the measures until August, according to Rivas’ office. Lindsey Holden, Sacramento Bee, 3 July 2024 Some faces in the crowd do not look like the usual North Georgia line dancers: Hispanic, Asian, and Black dancers adding hip thrusts and sultry hand maneuvers to the stiff style of line dancing popular in the historically conservative South. Luis Giraldo, CBS News, 29 June 2024
Two astronauts will remain at the International Space Station longer than expected while Boeing and NASA engineers troubleshoot problems with the propulsion system used to maneuver the capsule. David Koenig and Alanna Durkin Richer, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 July 2024 In terms of maneuvering, certain mops include beneficial features. Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for maneuver 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maneuver.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 15 Jul. 2024.

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


from French manœuvre "a military movement," from early French maneuvre "work done by hand," from Latin manuopera (same meaning), from earlier Latin manu operare "to perform manual labor," from manu, a form of manus "hand," and operare "to work" — related to manage, manual, manure, operate

Word Origin
Strange as it seems, we owe both maneuver and manure to the same French source. The medieval French verb manovrer, meaning "to work" or "to place with the hand," developed from manuoperare, literally, "to work by hand," in the spoken Latin of ancient Gaul. From meinourer, a variant of manovrer used in England, Middle English adopted maynouren or manouren, which had the senses "to take in hand, manage," and "to cultivate (land)." In the 1500s English derived from the latter sense the noun manure, "material that fertilizes land." In the 1700s English adopted maneuver from French manœuvrer (the descendant of medieval French manovrer) which in the intervening centuries had developed a new sense "to perform a movement in military tactics."

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!