manipulate

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

Definition of manipulate

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
2a : to manage or utilize skillfully quantify our data and manipulate it statistically— S. 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 manipulated— Evelyn G. Cruickshanks

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Other Words from manipulate

manipulatable \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce manipulatable (audio) \ adjective
manipulation \ mə-​ˌni-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce manipulation (audio) \ noun
manipulator \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce manipulator (audio) \ noun
manipulatory \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce manipulatory (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for manipulate

Synonyms

exploit, play (upon)

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Examples of manipulate in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Last summer, AbleGamers staffers taught patients at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans how to manipulate gaming equipment with their heads, feet, knees and mouths. Washington Post, "How a West Virginia group helped make video games accessible to the disabled," 16 July 2019 The film follows a troop of clowns who spread rumors around the kingdom to manipulate politics. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Spackman Entertainment Acquires South Korea's Simplex Films," 15 July 2019 The new study relied on experiments from a special research site in Alaska, where scientists have designed a way to manipulate the natural landscape to investigate the effects of rising temperatures. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Small Temperature Bumps Can Cause Big Arctic Methane Burps," 10 July 2019 Generally, the buggy drugs aim to manipulate the multitudes of microbes in our guts to boost health. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "New York Times falls for “obesity probiotic” hype," 5 July 2019 People who spread falsely edited images to knowingly manipulate elections could be sued for damages. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "California lawmaker targets fake candidate videos after doctored Pelosi footage," 24 June 2019 Then again, this is Gilead, and if the role of Handmaid helps the Commanders continue to manipulate women, so the concept could stick around anyway. Nicole Pomarico, refinery29.com, "What Is June's Daughter Being Trained For On The Handmaid's Tale?," 8 June 2019 Adair and Dieck also painted Talley as someone who used threats of suicide to manipulate others and asked the jury not to buy into his manipulative ways. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "North Shore man gets life for killing ex-girlfriend in front of son," 29 May 2018 Both the Nixon and Trump slush funds were initially set up to illegally manipulate an American presidential election, hush money included. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Following the Money in Trumpland Leads Ugly Places," 9 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of manipulate

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for manipulate

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

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Learn More about manipulate

Statistics for manipulate

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for manipulate

The first known use of manipulate was in 1834

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More Definitions for manipulate

manipulate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of manipulate

: to move or control (something) with your hands or by using a machine
medical : to move (muscles and bones) with your hands as a form of treatment
: to use or change (numbers, information, etc.) in a skillful way or for a particular purpose

manipulate

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

Kids Definition of manipulate

1 : to operate, use, or move with the hands or by mechanical means She learned to manipulate the levers of the machine.
2 : to manage skillfully and especially with intent to deceive The candidates tried to manipulate public opinion.

manipulate

transitive verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late | \ mə-ˈnip-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce manipulate (audio) \
manipulated; manipulating

Medical Definition of manipulate

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
2a : to manage or utilize skillfully
b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage

Other Words from manipulate

manipulative \ -​ˈnip-​yə-​ˌlāt-​iv How to pronounce manipulative (audio) , -​lət-​ How to pronounce manipulative (audio) \ adjective
manipulativeness noun

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manipulate

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

Legal Definition of manipulate

: 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

Other Words from manipulate

manipulable \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce manipulable (audio) \ adjective
manipulation \ mə-​ˌni-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce manipulation (audio) \ noun
manipulative \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tiv, -​lə-​tiv How to pronounce manipulative (audio) \ adjective
manipulatively adverb
manipulativeness noun
manipulator \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce manipulator (audio) \ noun
manipulatory \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce manipulatory (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on manipulate

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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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