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 maneuver (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 maneuver (audio) , -​ˌnyü-​ ; -​ˌn(y)üv-​rə-​ \ noun
maneuverable \ mə-​ˈnü-​və-​rə-​bəl How to pronounce maneuver (audio) , -​ˈnyü-​ ; -​ˈn(y)üv-​rə-​ \ adjective
maneuverer \ mə-​ˈnü-​vər-​ər How to pronounce maneuver (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 Backing off Trump's push for his execution could be an awkward maneuver. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Merrick Garland faces first death penalty test in Boston Marathon bomber case," 17 Mar. 2021 True gearheads typically clock about 50 miles per hour during the maneuver. Erinne Magee, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Automakers Flock to This Small Swedish Town Every Winter," 13 Mar. 2021 The apology was also blasted on social media and by past contestants of color in the franchise who maintained the apology was a public relations maneuver. Greg Braxton,, "‘The Bachelor’s’ first season with a Black lead is swept into a firestorm over race," 12 Mar. 2021 In 1985, the maneuver was developed by the Fairfax County, Virginia, police department in order to end pursuits with little danger to police or the general public. Tim Darnell, ajc, "What is the PIT, or Precision Immobilization Technique?," 17 Mar. 2021 With this maneuver, the fund is left with high-cost shares on its books. William Baldwin, Forbes, "Which Is Better: An ETF Or A Mutual Fund?," 5 Mar. 2021 Liberals had expressed hope on the campaign trail of eliminating this legislative maneuver but don’t have the votes to do so. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Biden struggles on filling Cabinet suggest a slog ahead on legislation," 24 Feb. 2021 Exum recognized the crafty point guard getting a lot of contact lately on snake dribbles and this slick new maneuver where Young comes flying off ball screens and then stops immediately. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dante Exum accepts J.B. Bickerstaff’s challenge, relishes stopper role," 3 Jan. 2021 In theory, legislators could try to attempt this electoral maneuver. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Biden campaign: Trump efforts to derail Michigan election results an 'abuse of office'," 21 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With the National Rifle Association, once the most powerful lobbying organization in the country, tied up in bankruptcy and spending more money on legal fees than on fighting the White House or Congress, Mr. Biden could have more room to maneuver. Annie Karni, New York Times, "White House Considers Executive Orders on Gun Control," 24 Mar. 2021 What Breyer needs and deserves is room to maneuver, to find the best and most rational way to satisfy the complex competing interests around his retirement. Noah Feldman, Star Tribune, "Stop telling Stephen Breyer to retire," 17 Mar. 2021 The Bears already terminated the contract of nickel cornerback Buster Skrine, and general manager Ryan Pace has a slew of moves to make to get the team under the cap and have room to maneuver once the new league year opens next week. Brad Biggs,, "Bobby Massie is being let go by the Chicago Bears, one of many NFL players getting squeezed by the lower salary cap: ‘Bodies are going to start dropping. It’s going to be like a fantasy draft for next season.’," 9 Mar. 2021 Yet even with all his wizardry, the dimensions of Fenway Park left people such as Price wondering just what Bradley could do with more room to maneuver. Globe Staff,, "Jackie Bradley Jr. will be able to stretch his legs with the Milwaukee Brewers," 5 Mar. 2021 While some foreign policy problems demand urgency — like the push to reconstitute the Iran nuclear deal — diplomats said allies will give Biden some room to maneuver. Anne Gearan, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden tells the world ‘America is back.’ The world isn’t so sure.," 28 Feb. 2021 Getting ahead of this legislation gives the company more room to maneuver in a complex labor environment. Martin Whittaker, Forbes, "Walmart’s Recent $14 Billion Investment Is A Reminder That We Need More Eyes On The Long-Term," 25 Feb. 2021 This 32-inch wide option by SereneLife has a non-slip top and a triple fin bottom that work together to make this paddleboard easy to maneuver on even the roughest waters. Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, "7 Top-rated Inflatable Paddleboards for Summertime Adventures," 7 Mar. 2021 Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005, has long sought to maneuver the court around similar partisan tensions. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court takes 'go-slow' approach on divisive issues as the rest of Washington reels," 19 Feb. 2021

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

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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
: 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 maneuver (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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