ma·​neu·​ver | \ mə-ˈnü-vər How to pronounce maneuver (audio) , -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\ mə-​ˈnü-​və-​riŋ How to pronounce maneuvering (audio) , -​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 \ mə-​ˌnü-​və-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce maneuverability (audio) , -​ˌnyü-​ ; -​ˌn(y)üv-​rə-​ \ noun
maneuverable \ mə-​ˈnü-​və-​rə-​bəl How to pronounce maneuverable (audio) , -​ˈnyü-​ ; -​ˈn(y)üv-​rə-​ \ adjective
maneuverer \ mə-​ˈnü-​vər-​ər How to pronounce maneuverer (audio) , -​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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During their Diamond 360 maneuver, the planes fly just 18 inches apart. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Plano couple’s godson piloted F/A-18 Hornet jet in Blue Angels flyover across North Texas," 6 May 2020 The arguments came one day after the Trump administration notified Congress of its latest maneuver in shifting around Pentagon money to use military funds for wall construction. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "May Congress Sue the Executive Branch? Court Hears Cases on Subpoena and Border Wall," 28 Apr. 2020 His go-it-alone maneuver provided the template for many acts to follow. Chris Varias,, "I knew John Prine when I was a kid; my appreciation has only grown," 8 Apr. 2020 Boeing’s engineers were able to pull an all-nighter and update the code at about 5 am the next day, just hours before the Starliner performed its separation maneuver. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Boeing’s spacecraft test failure points to broader problems," 7 Feb. 2020 Despite its last-minute maneuvers, the Sanders campaign felt snubbed. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Cruel irony: Iowa caucus reforms pushed by Sanders backfires on campaign," 4 Feb. 2020 Put your business maneuvers and ambitions on the back burner. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 20, 2019: Taurus, spirit of the season brings out your best; Pisces, enjoy some after-work events," 20 Dec. 2019 Those who have followed her arrests said the success of her evasive maneuvers depends on her ability to blend into a crowd as a seemingly harmless, elderly white woman. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "'Serial stowaway' was arrested again for trying to board a flight in Chicago with no travel documents," 13 Oct. 2019 The list of Trump loyalists pulled into his maneuvers begins at the top. Author: Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Key federal agencies increasingly compelled to benefit Trump," 2 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Few cars were able to maneuver around the blockade, forcing a bottleneck in southbound traffic in downtown Nogales, Arizona. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Protesters block southbound lanes at Arizona border crossing, demand stricter coronavirus screenings," 25 Mar. 2020 This is just a giant adversity that these guys have to maneuver through. Dallas News, "Ex-Rangers manager Jeff Banister says it would’ve been a ‘dream come true’ to be named Astros’ skipper," 23 Feb. 2020 Know how to maneuver under a moonless sky that merges with the sea and not allow yourself to be intoxicated by the sensation of flying. Martin Dumont, The New York Review of Books, "Waterlines: On Writing and Sailing," 5 Feb. 2020 At normal operating speeds, ships are unable to maneuver to avoid them and right whales swim too slowly to move out of the way. Allen Kim, CNN, "A right whale is entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Massachusetts and officials are worried it may drown," 30 Jan. 2020 The bill has received strong support from Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who used her position to maneuver it around a committee roadblock and onto the Senate floor Monday. Alexei Koseff,, "California bill to allow denser housing faces make-or-break vote," 29 Jan. 2020 Many passengers complained that the distance was too far and difficult to maneuver with luggage. Susan Glaser,, "Cleveland Hopkins will keep shuttle drop off at north end of terminal; improvements planned," 12 Sep. 2019 Around for more than 150 years, this classic game has players striking wooden balls with mallets in an attempt to be the first to maneuver your ball through all the rings. Mike Rose, cleveland, "Outdoor games and activities to keep you entertained during the pandemic and beyond," 3 May 2020 The swivel steering ensures easy maneuvering while cleaning, and happy customers tout the tool’s powerful suction ability. Popular Science, "Stick vacuums that make cleaning your floors quick and easy," 28 Apr. 2020

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

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

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Time Traveler for maneuver

Time Traveler

The first known use of maneuver was in 1759

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Statistics for maneuver

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for maneuver


How to pronounce maneuver (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of maneuver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a clever or skillful action or movement
: a planned movement of soldiers or ships
: 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 How to pronounce maneuver (audio) , -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 How to pronounce manoeuvre (audio) \

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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