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

The Kremlin says the Ukrainian ships were making dangerous maneuvers in Russia’s territorial waters. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Ukraine Threatens to Escalate Russia Standoff After Ship Detentions," 30 Nov. 2018 Those maneuvers can’t be controlled from Earth in real-time. Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times, "Mars landing is a nail-biter for Redmond rocket engineers," 26 Nov. 2018 So Republicans claim fraud, attempting to get fewer votes counted as legitimate — particularly through lawsuits and other legal maneuvers. German Lopez, Vox, "The Florida voter fraud allegations, explained," 12 Nov. 2018 The Soviet sub was in the area to observe Swedish naval maneuvers. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Mystery Submarine Spotted in Swedish Waters," 29 Oct. 2018 These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: A NYT financial investigation punctures Trump’s ‘self-made’ image," 3 Oct. 2018 That happens to be the exact word Putin uses to describe NATO maneuvers in Europe. Andrew Malcolm,, "Will Trump stand up to Putin or fall for him?," 12 July 2018 To this day, the mystery of the stool maneuver still remains, with Ariana further fueling the secret with her cryptic response at the time. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Lady Gaga Continues Ariana Grande's "Stool Challenge" In New Photos," 14 Nov. 2018 The company performed this maneuver for the US military, but commercial satellite operators seem to have also noticed. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceX nabs another contract, Vector cashes in, Vulcan delay," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And riders shifting side to side are less of an immediate threat, because there is more space to maneuver to avoid collision. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "What we can learn about crowd behavior by watching the Tour de France," 19 Nov. 2018 Sure, the best of the best will always be able to aim better, move faster, and out-maneuver their enemies. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Black Ops 4 merges Fortnite and PUBG into the best Call of Duty in years," 19 Oct. 2018 Russia has been maneuvering in talks at the U.N. this week to shape the future of Syria, influence nonproliferation negotiations with North Korea and bolster Venezuela's embattled president. Fox News, "Russia seeks to counter US weight as Lavrov takes UN stage," 28 Sep. 2018 Harry went in for the double-cheek kiss, but Ghaswala stood still, leaving him awkwardly maneuvering around. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Had an Adorably Awkward Moment at Meghan Markle's Cookbook Launch," 20 Sep. 2018 Tuesday night gave party leaders new room to maneuver. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "America Could Use Some Deals," 8 Nov. 2018 If one more goes down, Hubble will be unable to maneuver at full capacity. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Fixed Hubble the Same Way You Fix Your Computer," 23 Oct. 2018 This flight finally gave us a bit of a challenge with some thunderstorms to maneuver around. Georgia Dean, Condé Nast Traveler, "Co-Piloting a 54-Day Flight With My Dad: Dispatch #5," 17 Oct. 2018 Nonetheless, this change in branding does suggest that Intel is running out of room to maneuver. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Leaked benchmarks show Intel is dropping hyperthreading from i7 chips," 25 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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Statistics for maneuver

Last Updated

4 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on maneuver

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with maneuver

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for maneuver

Spanish Central: Translation of maneuver

Nglish: Translation of maneuver for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maneuver for Arabic Speakers

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