• synonyms


noun, verb (used with or without object), ma·noeu·vred, ma·noeu·vring.
  1. Chiefly British. maneuver.
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  1. a planned and regulated movement or evolution of troops, warships, etc.
  2. maneuvers, a series of tactical exercises usually carried out in the field by large bodies of troops in simulating the conditions of war.
  3. an act or instance of changing the direction of a moving ship, vehicle, etc., as required.
  4. an adroit move, skillful proceeding, etc., especially as characterized by craftiness; ploy: political maneuvers.
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verb (used with object), ma·neu·vered, ma·neu·ver·ing.
  1. to change the position of (troops, ships, etc.) by a maneuver.
  2. to bring, put, drive, or make by maneuvers: He maneuvered his way into the confidence of the enemy.
  3. to manipulate or manage with skill or adroitness: to maneuver a conversation.
  4. to steer in various directions as required.
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verb (used without object), ma·neu·vered, ma·neu·ver·ing.
  1. to perform a maneuver or maneuvers.
  2. to scheme; intrigue.
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Also especially British, ma·noeu·vre.

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 formsma·neu·ver·a·ble, adjectivema·neu·ver·a·bil·i·ty, nounma·neu·ver·er, nounun·ma·neu·vered, adjective

Synonyms for maneuver

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for manoeuvre

Contemporary Examples of manoeuvre

Historical Examples of manoeuvre

  • Do they not manoeuvre like soldiers who have seen stricken fields?

    Main Street

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • We stood gaping and staring at her, not knowing what to make of this manoeuvre, when "bang!"

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The cutter imitated this manoeuvre, and the boat of the wreck went last.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • And we land-lubbers were not the only ones he tricked by his manoeuvre.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The people will read of my manoeuvre with the bulletin of victory before them.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

British Dictionary definitions for manoeuvre


US maneuver

  1. a contrived, complicated, and possibly deceptive plan or actionpolitical manoeuvres
  2. a movement or action requiring dexterity and skill
    1. a tactic or movement of one or a number of military or naval units
    2. (plural)tactical exercises, usually on a large scale
  3. a planned movement of an aircraft in flight
  4. any change from the straight steady course of a ship
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  1. (tr) to contrive or accomplish with skill or cunning
  2. (intr) to manipulate situations, etc, in order to gain some endto manoeuvre for the leadership
  3. (intr) to perform a manoeuvre or manoeuvres
  4. to move or deploy or be moved or deployed, as military units, etc
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Derived Formsmanoeuvrable or US maneuverable, adjectivemanoeuvrability or US maneuverability, nounmanoeuvrer or US maneuverer, nounmanoeuvring or US maneuvering, noun

Word Origin for manoeuvre

C15: from French, from Medieval Latin manuopera manual work, from Latin manū operāre to work with the hand


noun, verb
  1. the usual US spelling of manoeuvre
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Derived Formsmaneuverable, adjectivemaneuverability, nounmaneuverer, nounmaneuvering, 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

Word Origin and History for manoeuvre

also manoeuver, alternative spelling of maneuver. Also see oe; -re. Related: manoeuvres; manoeuvred; manoeuvring.

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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.

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

manoeuvre in Medicine


  1. A movement or procedure involving skill and dexterity.
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  1. To manipulate into a desired position or toward a predetermined goal.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.