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or (especially British) manoeuvre

[muh-noo-ver] /məˈnu vər/
a planned and regulated movement or evolution of troops, warships, etc.
maneuvers, a series of tactical exercises usually carried out in the field by large bodies of troops in simulating the conditions of war.
an act or instance of changing the direction of a moving ship, vehicle, etc., as required.
an adroit move, skillful proceeding, etc., especially as characterized by craftiness; ploy:
political maneuvers.
verb (used with object), maneuvered, maneuvering.
to change the position of (troops, ships, etc.) by a maneuver.
to bring, put, drive, or make by maneuvers:
He maneuvered his way into the confidence of the enemy.
to manipulate or manage with skill or adroitness:
to maneuver a conversation.
to steer in various directions as required.
verb (used without object), maneuvered, maneuvering.
to perform a maneuver or maneuvers.
to scheme; intrigue.
Origin of maneuver
1470-80 for an earlier sense; 1750-60 for current noun sense; < French manoeuvre, Middle French manuevre handwork, derivative of Old French manuvrer < Latin manū operāre to do handwork, equivalent to manū (ablative of manus hand) + operāre to work (see operate); replacing earlier maanorre manual labor < Middle French, as above
Related forms
maneuverable, adjective
maneuverability, noun
maneuverer, noun
unmaneuvered, adjective
4. stratagem, tactic, ruse, artifice; procedure, scheme, plot, plan. 6. scheme, contrive, intrigue. 7. handle, finesse. 10. plot, plan. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for maneuver
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One often has to maneuver his way through little iron-legged tables and chairs, used for refreshments.

  • Twice the maneuver was repeated, each time with the same success.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • It was fought as a result of Rosecrans attempt to maneuver Bragg out of Chattanooga.

    The Civil War Through the Camera Henry W. (Henry William) Elson
  • The maneuver was repeated three times, and they then gained the end house of the village.

  • It took long, patient minutes to hook a door handle, then more time to maneuver the wire into position.

    The Egyptian Cat Mystery Harold Leland Goodwin
British Dictionary definitions for maneuver


noun, verb
the usual US spelling of manoeuvre
Derived Forms
maneuverable, adjective
maneuverability, noun
maneuverer, noun
maneuvering, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for maneuver

"planned movement of troops or warship," 1758, from French manoeuvre "manipulation, maneuver," from Old French manovre "manual labor" 13c.), from Medieval Latin manuopera (source of Spanish maniobra, Italian manovra), from manuoperare "work with the hands," from Latin manu operari, from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)) + operari "to work, operate" (see operation). The same word had been borrowed from French into Middle English in a sense "hand-labor" (late 15c.). General meaning "artful plan, adroit movement" is from 1774. Related: Maneuvers.


1777, from maneuver (n.), or else from French manœurvrer "work, work with one's hands; carry out, prepare" (12c.), from Medieval Latin manuoperare. Originally in a military sense. Figurative use from 1801. Related: Maneuvered; maneuvering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maneuver in Medicine

maneuver ma·neu·ver (mə-nōō'vər, -nyōō'-)
A movement or procedure involving skill and dexterity. v. ma·neu·vered, ma·neu·ver·ing, ma·neu·vers
To manipulate into a desired position or toward a predetermined goal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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