manipulate

verb

ma·​nip·​u·​late mə-ˈni-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce manipulate (audio)
manipulated; manipulating

transitive verb

1
: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
manipulate a pencil
manipulate a machine
2
a
: to manage or utilize skillfully
quantify our data and manipulate it statisticallyS. L. Payne
b
: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
being used and manipulated by the knowing men around himNew Republic
3
: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose : doctor
suspected that the police reports were manipulatedEvelyn G. Cruickshanks
manipulatable adjective
manipulation noun
manipulator noun
manipulatory adjective

Example Sentences

The baby is learning to manipulate blocks. The mechanical arms are manipulated by a computer. The doctor manipulated my back. The program was designed to organize and manipulate large amounts of data. He's always been good at manipulating numbers in his head. As part of the experiment, students manipulated light and temperature to see how it affected the plants. She knows how to manipulate her parents to get what she wants. He felt that he had been manipulated by the people he trusted most. The editorial was a blatant attempt to manipulate public opinion. He's accused of trying to manipulate the price of the stock. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This sort of thing seems to bea semiannual trend: Every few months, an app emerges to collect photos of your face and manipulate your image, reflecting and refracting it back to you anew. Sophie Haigney, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2023 It’s a tabletop bubble hockey game where players manipulate goalies, wingers and defenseman attached to rods, battling it out with a dime-sized, free-flying puck. Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Dec. 2022 To optimize their quantum properties, research labs can manipulate chemical structure and molecular packing. Jessica Wade, WIRED, 27 Dec. 2022 No fewer than eight drive modes manipulate the C63's engine and drivetrain, three-position adaptive dampers, steering sensitivity, and stability control via two control pods on the steering wheel. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 13 Dec. 2022 Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe star as wealthy, vicious step-siblings who make a wager that drives them to ruthlessly manipulate their fellow students, including the virginal Annette (Reese Witherspoon). Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, 28 Nov. 2022 African and Asian elephants use the tips of their trunks differently to manipulate objects, the researchers said. Dominique Mosbergen, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2022 Below are a succession of pictures demonstrating the ability of Rosen to recognize cover 1 and use his eyes to manipulate the safety to his right. Lance Reisland, cleveland, 23 July 2022 Said trials use chemicals to manipulate human emotions and behavior: love and fear, honesty and obedience. Peter Debruge, Variety, 13 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'manipulate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

back-formation from manipulation, from French, from manipuler to handle an apparatus in chemistry, ultimately from Latin manipulus

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of manipulate was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near manipulate

Cite this Entry

“Manipulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/manipulate. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

manipulate

verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late mə-ˈnip-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce manipulate (audio)
manipulated; manipulating
1
: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially with skill
manipulate the trackball
2
: to manage or use skillfully
manipulate masses of statistics
3
: to manage especially with intent to deceive
manipulate accounts
manipulate public opinion
manipulation noun
manipulator noun

Medical Definition

manipulate

transitive verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late mə-ˈnip-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce manipulate (audio)
manipulated; manipulating
1
: to treat or operate with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
manipulate the fragments of a broken bone into correct position
2
a
: to manage or utilize skillfully
b
: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
manipulative adjective
manipulativeness noun

Legal Definition

manipulate

transitive verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late mə-ˈni-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce manipulate (audio)
manipulated; manipulating
: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose
specifically : to affect (the price of securities) artificially in order to deceive or mislead investors
manipulable adjective
manipulation noun
manipulative adjective
manipulatively adverb
manipulativeness noun
manipulator noun
manipulatory adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on manipulate

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