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 To play that role, the central bank has relied on some creative maneuvers. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "All the moves the Fed is making to bolster the economy, from Main Street to muni bonds," 23 Mar. 2020 Getting intimate safely would require some seriously fancy maneuvers. Aidin Vaziri,, "Coronavirus FAQ: What is safe sex in the social distancing era?," 23 Mar. 2020 Netanyahu’s coronavirus measures have become mixed up with the possible end of his tenure, via either parliamentary maneuvers or legal means. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Netanyahu and the Politics of Leadership during a Crisis," 20 Mar. 2020 According to a recent release, night flying is conducted as an essential training requirement for nighttime maneuvers. oregonlive, "Portland metro Monday traffic: Troutdale Bridge closed to motor vehicles for 8 weeks," 16 Mar. 2020 Their hour-long performance features thrilling high-speed aerobatic maneuvers with F-16s flying only a few yards apart from each other. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Luke Days 2020 air show has been canceled," 13 Mar. 2020 Boeing launched an unpiloted CST-100 Starliner capsule last December, but the spacecraft's computer set its mission clock to the wrong time before liftoff, causing it to miss a critical orbit raising maneuver. William Harwood, CBS News, "Boeing vows to fix Starliner after "close call"," 6 Mar. 2020 The second hour is a livelier playing ground for the actors — and even mathy, considering how financial maneuvers play into the suspense. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Banker,’ starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, eventually earns its keep," 5 Mar. 2020 During the 20-30 seconds of lathering the World Health Organization recommends incorporating six maneuvers to cover all parts of your hands. Michelle Sconce Massaquoi, The Conversation, "Why hand-washing really is as important as doctors say," 3 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fossil fuel companies are maneuvering for a bailout, the stock market seems to have received one already, and the United States lags behind Vietnam in terms of testing those sick. Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic, "The Pandemic Imagination," 16 Mar. 2020 Suddenly, a car cuts you off, and these thoughts immediately vanish—all of your attention focuses on maneuvering the steering wheel to avoid a collision. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Constant Shifts between Mental States Mark a Signature of Consciousness," 12 Mar. 2020 The last major international breakthrough on climate came at the 2015 Paris climate talks after a year of behind the scenes maneuvering from diplomats around the world. Justin Worland, Time, "How Coronavirus Could Set Back the Fight Against Climate Change," 10 Mar. 2020 Traversal is also one of the best parts: gliding around in a wingsuit and maneuvering jeeps makes Far Cry 3 a wild ride. Elise Favis, Washington Post, "10 open-world games we want for Nintendo Switch," 4 Mar. 2020 Watch the bikers maneuver through tight corners, jumps, bumps and other challenges in their pursuit of the title. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "10 fun things to do the week of Feb. 21-27 in Dallas-Fort Worth," 20 Feb. 2020 Bong Joon Ho's film is about two families--one very rich, the other very poor--whose worlds converge when the poorer family, the Kims, maneuver their way into the lives of the wealthy Parks. Joohee Cho, ABC News, "Seoul pizzeria raking in dough after 'Parasite' Oscar-win success," 19 Feb. 2020 Bellini, wearing a palm-print blouse, beige capri pants, and sandals, maneuvered out of the back to greet Hebrain, who lived there with his wife, Regina, and their infant son. Elizabeth Barber, The New Yorker, "A Nun’s Journey in the Amazon," 17 Feb. 2020 Ice canoeing, his winter sport of choice, involves maneuvering an approximately 250-pound, 28-foot-long canoe with a nearly flat bottom on top of ice and through frigid Canadian waters riddled with mini icebergs. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "A graduate student blows off steam by helping a team power their canoe through the frigid waters of Calgary’s Bow River," 10 Feb. 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

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Apr. 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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