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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from manipulate

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

Synonyms for manipulate

Synonyms

exploit, play (upon)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

On the other side of the Atlantic, Turkey, Hungary and Poland, still recognizable as democracies, are centralizing power, controlling the media, manipulating the courts and squelching protest. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 Joe Jackson was an overbearing, abusive, manipulating and ruthless father. latimes.com, "Calendar Letters: Harlan Ellison's jitterbug, protest songs and healthcare, Joe Jackson's legacy," 7 July 2018 To Horner, all of this further cements his 2009 theory of manipulating a chicken embryo into having dinosaur characteristics. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The Real Science of Bringing Back the Dinosaurs," 20 June 2018 Every day you are inundated with an overexposure of advertising and mainstream media, social media and endless comparisons, distorting the truth, and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Just Gave a Powerful Speech at This Year's WE Day," 6 Mar. 2019 The company has faced criticism from lawmakers and regulators recently for instances where user data may have been misused and the site itself was manipulated during the 2016 election campaign. USA TODAY, "Facebook to let you know what websites and apps track you online," 1 May 2018 Krebs, according to testimony and the documents, was manipulating the camera from the sheriff’s dispatch office. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Sheriff’s use of courtroom camera to view juror’s notebook, lawyer’s notes sparks dismissal of criminal case," 4 Feb. 2019 But over the subsequent weeks and months, Meehan slowly revealed himself to be the very opposite: A pathological liar with an ugly temper, a criminal past, and a long history of conning, manipulating, and abusing women. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Events of Dirty John," 14 Jan. 2019 Cost estimates for any policy in Washington are manipulated for political purposes, and the benefits of more spending or lower taxes or easier money from the Federal Reserve are never perfectly matched to the timing of costs. WSJ, "Not All Deficits Spur Growth With Such Gusto," 27 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about manipulate

Statistics for manipulate

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for manipulate

The first known use of manipulate was in 1834

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on manipulate

What made you want to look up manipulate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!