verb (used with object), ma·nip·u·lat·ed, ma·nip·u·lat·ing.
  1. to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner: to manipulate people's feelings.
  2. to handle, manage, or use, especially with skill, in some process of treatment or performance: to manipulate a large tractor.
  3. to adapt or change (accounts, figures, etc.) to suit one's purpose or advantage.
  4. Medicine/Medical. to examine or treat by skillful use of the hands, as in palpation, reduction of dislocations, or changing the position of a fetus.

Origin of manipulate

First recorded in 1820–30; back formation from manipulation
Related formsma·nip·u·lat·a·ble, adjectivema·nip·u·la·to·ry [muh-nip-yuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /məˈnɪp yə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivenon·ma·nip·u·la·tive, adjectivenon·ma·nip·u·la·to·ry, adjectiveout·ma·nip·u·late, verb (used with object), out·ma·nip·u·lat·ed, out·ma·nip·u·lat·ing.un·ma·nip·u·lat·a·ble, adjectiveun·ma·nip·u·lat·ed, adjectiveun·ma·nip·u·la·tive, adjectiveun·ma·nip·u·la·to·ry, adjective

Synonyms for manipulate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for manipulatable


  1. (tr) to handle or use, esp with some skill, in a process or actionto manipulate a pair of scissors
  2. to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skilfully, or deviously
  3. to falsify (a bill, accounts, etc) for one's own advantage
  4. (in physiotherapy) to examine or treat manually, as in loosening a joint
Derived Formsmanipulability (məˌnɪpjʊləˈbɪlɪtɪ), nounmanipulatable or manipulable, adjectivemanipulation, nounmanipulative, adjectivemanipulatively, adverbmanipulator, nounmanipulatory, adjective

Word Origin for manipulate

C19: back formation from manipulation, from Latin manipulus handful
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

Word Origin and History for manipulatable



1827, "to handle skillfully by hand," a back-formation from manipulation. Of mental influence, from 1864. Financial sense is from 1870. In mid-20c., it served as a euphemism for "masturbation." Related: Manipulated; manipulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

manipulatable in Medicine


  1. To handle and move in an examination or for therapeutic purposes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.