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 The warship was preparing to refuel in a windy harbor, its crew occupied with a difficult docking maneuver and its radars and weapons turned off. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Remembering the attack on the destroyer Cole 20 years ago," 15 Oct. 2020 Calais Campbell to run a stunt, a maneuver in which pass rushers exchange roles to confuse blocking assignments. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens film study: How the pass rush made life miserable for Bengals QB Joe Burrow," 14 Oct. 2020 Often, patients must be rolled onto their stomachs to help their lungs recover, a maneuver that can require a team of health-care workers to make sure IV lines or breathing tubs aren’t yanked out. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska hospitals warn a COVID-19 patient surge could put pressure on already compromised ICU staffing levels.," 10 Oct. 2020 And there was another maneuver, the one that experts consulted by The Times described as highly unusual: the more than $21 million in one-time payments that the Trump-Ruffin joint venture paid out in 2016. Susanne Craig, Mike Mcintire And Russ Buettner, New York Times, "Trump Engineered a Sudden Windfall in 2016 as Campaign Funds Dwindled," 9 Oct. 2020 This past June, the department expanded that rule with a ban on any maneuver or tactic that prevents breathing or obstructs someone’s airway. Susannah Bryan,, "Racism and police brutality bring changes across South Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 A year after Slack went public with a direct listing and two years after Spotify used the same maneuver, collaboration software maker Asana and data crunching firm Palantir will both use the technique this week. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Palantir and Asana to test investor hunger for direct listings this week," 29 Sep. 2020 The Texans will serve as experts to forces interested in improving their skills in such areas as artillery, maneuver, and command and control. Sig Christenson,, "Texan soldiers bid farewell to families, again," 28 Sep. 2020 But after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed fresh restrictions on the economy to tackle Covid-19 this week, Sunak has little room for maneuver. Alex Morales,, "Virus Forces Sunak to Spend More on Saving U.K. Jobs, Firms," 24 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Most jobs are one-item pickups, such as an old recliner that is tricky to maneuver up a staircase or an extra refrigerator that has taken its last breath. Colleen Schrappen St. Louis Post-dispatch, Star Tribune, "Junk haulers have hands full with pandemic purges," 11 Oct. 2020 In some courtrooms, the spaces between aisles or benches were also tough to maneuver. oregonlive, "After decades of trying, Multnomah County opens a $324 million new, spacious, seismically safer courthouse," 4 Oct. 2020 But to get that point across, Heffernan had to maneuver a face mask, maintain six feet of space from his audience and speak above a humming humidifier in the back of the classroom. Washington Post, "After weeks of chaos, a slow return to in-person classes and wide-scale testing bring some stability to D.C.-area universities," 23 Sep. 2020 This rig requires less rider input to maneuver through tight, technical sections of singletrack than heavier, more cumbersome e-mountain bikes. Josh Patterson, Outside Online, "3 Updated Mountain Bikes That Are Ideal for Fall Riding," 30 Sep. 2020 Any of these reasons (or a combination of them) could cause a company to declare bankruptcy, which then gives them room to maneuver. Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "Why bankruptcy is rarely the end for retailers in dire straits," 17 Sep. 2020 Winter is prime season there, and this will be the first winter businesses have to maneuver around the pandemic. Cara Korte, CBS News, "Colorado business owners adapt to COVID realities, prepare for future," 24 Sep. 2020 Curling is a team sport in which human players use a stick to grab, maneuver and propel a 40-pound puck, or stone, across the ice toward a red-blue target that resembles a bull’s-eye. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "A Robot Beats Humans at Their Own Game—This Time on the Ice," 23 Sep. 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

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maneuver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 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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