manipulate

verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late | \ mə-ˈni-pyə-ˌlāt \
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 \ -​ˌlā-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
manipulation \ -​ˌni-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun
manipulative \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tiv , -​lə-​ \ adjective
manipulatively adverb
manipulativeness noun
manipulator \ -​ˌlā-​tər \ noun
manipulatory \ -​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ 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

Turns out, even Joanna Gaines catches herself manipulating her surroundings for social media, too. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Gets Candid About the Moments She Needs to ‘Check Myself’ With Her Kids," 3 Feb. 2019 What Scott and Thorpe appear to have in common is an ability to hold others in thrall, relying heavily on their ability to manipulate people. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Sex, Lies, and Bunnies in A Very English Scandal," 3 July 2018 Both Twitter and Facebook have been roundly criticized for allowing Russian agents to use the social media services in an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. Sheera Frenkel, New York Times, "Facebook and Twitter Expand Peek Into Who’s Behind Their Ads," 28 June 2018 These are all reasons that manipulating a draft strategy to achieve some far away goal that will depend on a million factors out of your control is a lousy idea. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Danny Duffy good again, Royals and 100 losses, and, oh yes, the Chiefs," 12 June 2018 The character used her ability to manipulate men, in particular the Lannister heirs, to finally land a crown on her head, but her reign was short-lived. T.l. Stanley, latimes.com, "'Game of Thrones' star Natalie Dormer heads Amazon's twisty mystery 'Picnic At Hanging Rock'," 24 May 2018 This smacks of just another attempt by counsel to manipulate the optics. Laura Mccrystal, Philly.com, "Who is Tom Mesereau? As Bill Cosby's retrial opens, meet his Hollywood lawyer," 6 Apr. 2018 As Motherboard reports, Bernhard's finding illustrates a grim hypothetical: Someone could bypass the lock, access the machine's memory cards, and tamper with its software, potentially skewing results or manipulating data in other forms. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Shim Made From a Soda Can Can Break Into Voting Machines," 17 Oct. 2018 Another question is how easily someone who’s in a position of power can manipulate data on the web. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Data for Democracy policy head Renée DiResta answers disinformation questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 14 July 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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Statistics for manipulate

Last Updated

15 Feb 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 \
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 \
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 , -​lət-​ \ adjective
manipulativeness noun

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manipulate

transitive verb
ma·​nip·​u·​late | \ mə-ˈni-pyə-ˌlāt \
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 \ adjective
manipulation \ mə-​ˌni-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun
manipulative \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tiv, -​lə-​tiv \ adjective
manipulatively adverb
manipulativeness noun
manipulator \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​ˌlā-​tər \ noun
manipulatory \ mə-​ˈni-​pyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

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