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 the routine, Bersten spun the horizontal Jackson around the floor like a hypnotizing top, and the actress had the control to stop the head-spinning maneuver on a dime. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'DWTS' shock! Backstreet Boy AJ McLean can't find anybody to love his Queen tribute waltz, gets voted off," 10 Nov. 2020 The maneuver, with Portland police reporting to the unified command, allows state police and sheriff deputies to bypass Mayor Ted Wheeler’s directive banning Portland police from using tear gas during protests. oregonlive, "Oregon State Police, Multnomah County Sheriff to lead police response in Portland during election, with National Guard on standby," 2 Nov. 2020 The Stars saved $1,523,933 in cap space for 2021-22 with the maneuver. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "What could Miro Heiskanen’s next contract with the Stars look like?," 23 Oct. 2020 Lawmakers, however, took relatively little notice of the White House maneuver. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Scorched-Earth War Against Federal Employees," 22 Oct. 2020 When pressed into duty in a passing maneuver or sustained acceleration, the powertrain emits an unpleasantly gritty engine note during passing maneuvers. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "2021 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid Fixes Some Minor Flaws," 20 Oct. 2020 Factoring in the time delay, the spacecraft arm will touch Bennu at 6:12pm ET (22:12 UTC), and scientists should know pretty quickly whether the maneuver happened. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Today’s the big day for NASA’s mission that seeks to pluck asteroid dust," 20 Oct. 2020 The maneuver is managed by Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "If you'd like a break from Earth for an hour, we recommend this PBS asteroid documentary," 17 Oct. 2020 Republicans looked to strengthen their negotiating position with the legislative maneuver taken in the Senate. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan lawmakers approve extension of unemployment benefits, new nursing home rules," 14 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the aggressive strategy left it with huge debts, and little room to maneuver when things went wrong. Charles Riley, CNN, "Norwegian Air may not survive the pandemic," 10 Nov. 2020 Multiple international roster spots will open up and the club will have room to maneuver in the various markets for talent. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "FC Cincinnati announces roster, contract decisions for 2021," 9 Nov. 2020 Leave room to maneuver in case the car coming in behind yours needs extra stopping space. Anchorage Daily News, "Police urge drivers to watch for hazardous road conditions as crashes prompt Glenn Highway closures," 7 Nov. 2020 This snag-free design rides shooting bags well at the range and makes the rifle easy to maneuver when setting up for a shot in the field. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Springfield Armory’s Model 2020 Waypoint Is an Accurate New Hunting Rifle with Competition Features," 29 Sep. 2020 This wouldn’t be a situation conducive to high-minded policy considerations, which was just fine with Harry, who could maneuver, cut deals, and apply pressure like nobody else. Barack Obama, The New Yorker, "A President Looks Back on His Toughest Fight," 26 Oct. 2020 Ghaisar activates his right turn signal and begins to slowly maneuver around the Park Police vehicle, with Amaya behind him. Washington Post, "Park Police officers charged by grand jury with manslaughter in 2017 slaying of unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar," 15 Oct. 2020 MJ Hegar is still learning how to maneuver the minefields in Texas Democratic Party politics. Dallas News, "Inability to end spat with rival Royce West threatens MJ Hegar’s ability to rally Black voters," 12 Oct. 2020 That caused the Ford driver to maneuver toward the shoulder of the southbound lane. Clifford Ward,, "Round Lake man killed in crash," 19 Oct. 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

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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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