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 The autonomous spacecraft aligned itself with one of the station’s ports and parked itself in a delicate maneuver watched closely by controllers on the ground and astronauts on board the station. Washington Post, "This is the second time this space capsule has docked with the space station," 24 Apr. 2021 The vehicle initially pulled to the side of the road, but both the driver and the passenger fled, leading law enforcement on a chase that eventually resulted in a PIT maneuver. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Multiple officers injured during police chase in Georgia," 12 Apr. 2021 It was later revived in a legislative maneuver on the Senate floor and passed on March 8. Stephen Groves, Star Tribune, "South Dakota gov pushes changes to transgender sports ban," 19 Mar. 2021 Through financial filings, Mr. Gill’s crew also discovered that hedge funds such as Point72 and Citron Capital were betting that GameStop’s price would fall, in a maneuver known as short-selling. New York Times, "The ‘Roaring Kitty’ Rally: How a Reddit User and His Friends Roiled the Markets," 29 Jan. 2021 The time may be approaching when that clever maneuver is no longer tenable. Washington Post, "Outcry over book ‘censorship’ reveals how online retailers choose books — or don’t," 22 Apr. 2021 However, there's speculation as to whether that legislative maneuver is constitutional. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Senate gives Shirkey power to sue Whitmer over COVID-19 relief funds, vetoes," 12 Mar. 2021 The most difficult maneuver wasn't on the bowling lanes, though. Alicia Eler, Star Tribune, "Tiny drone swooping through Minneapolis bowling alley blows up the Internet," 11 Mar. 2021 This maneuver is a classic short squeeze, the kind Ray Dirks used to orchestrate decades ago. John Dorfman, Forbes, "Should You Sell Short The Favorites On WallStreetBets?," 1 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But all consumers should be deeply troubled that the federal agency overseeing product safety has precious little room to maneuver if a company challenges the agency’s findings and refuses to recall a questionable product. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Peloton won’t recall treadmill that killed a child. Why aren’t officials acting?," 21 Apr. 2021 Iran, for instance, has not advanced its work on a nuclear weapon, potentially giving President Biden some room to maneuver. New York Times, "China Poses Biggest Threat to U.S., Intelligence Report Says," 13 Apr. 2021 Even so, escalating government debt burdens will make future monetary tightening all the more costly, potentially limiting central banks’ room to maneuver. Craig Torres,, "Central Banks Short on Ammo Forced to Rely on Governments," 12 Nov. 2020 The 21-foot table is long enough for most households, and the lightweight design makes this vacuum easy to use and maneuver. Simon Books,, "Dyson vs. Hoover vacuums: Which should you get?," 10 Apr. 2021 On hectic days, dispatchers maneuver crews around like chess pieces. ProPublica, "Protect Independent Journalism," 9 Apr. 2021 Unlike constricting blazers, this comfortable jacket with one-button closure leaves plenty of room to maneuver. Jennifer Ford, Forbes, "Meet The Spring Suit You Don’t Have To Iron Or Dry Clean," 5 Apr. 2021 This would restrict the Chinese Navy’s and Air Force’s room to maneuver, pushing them out into the open water—where the U.S. Navy would take them on. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Marine Corps Is About to Reinvent Itself—Drastically," 2 Apr. 2021 If Democrats can maneuver their changes through Congress using their slim majorities, U.S.-based companies would likely pay more on their overseas operations and on their domestic profits. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Senate Democrats Lay Plans for Higher Corporate Taxes," 25 Mar. 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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 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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