Definition of manoeuvre in English:

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Pronunciation: /məˈnuːvə/
(US maneuver)


1A movement or series of moves requiring skill and care: snowboarders performed daring manoeuvres on precipitous slopes
More example sentences
  • The skill required in such a manoeuvre is not to be underestimated, especially in a tight skirt and four inch heels.
  • Anyone who examines the route taken by Hanjour will see that it required a complex manoeuvre by an experienced pilot.
  • Disturbances can occur while a fish is at rest, when swimming forwards and backwards, and during maneuvers while moving in either direction.
operation, exercise, activity, move, movement, action
1.1A carefully planned or cunning scheme or action: shady financial manoeuvres
More example sentences
  • It would seem a shame to turn down such a cunning manoeuvre without a compelling need.
  • He has suggested that such tactical maneuvers could backfire.
  • Other financial maneuvers can be made that hurt small unsecured creditors by leaving less money on the table.
1.2 [mass noun] The fact or process of taking carefully planned or cunning action: the economic policy provided no room for manoeuvre
More example sentences
  • Consumers have borrowed up to the hilt, leaving little room for manoeuvre should times get seriously tough.
  • And the Christmas launch date appeared to leave the company little room for manoeuvre should anything go wrong.
  • In such circumstances, there would be some room for manoeuvre on interest rates.
2 (manoeuvres) A large-scale military exercise of troops, warships, and other forces: the Russian vessel was on manoeuvres
More example sentences
  • Colourful uniforms had been replaced by khaki; heroic charges and defences by long-range shelling; and sweeping military manoeuvres by trench warfare.
  • I spent 40 years in the Army, about six of them separated from my family and perhaps a couple more on maneuvers, training exercises and temporary duty.
  • But its demands for regime change and its military manoeuvres are increasing tensions at the same time.

verb (manoeuvres, manoeuvring, manoeuvred)

1Move skilfully or carefully: [no object]: the lorry was unable to manoeuvre comfortably in the narrow street [with object and adverbial of direction]: she tried to manoeuvre her trolley round people
More example sentences
  • A special tube is inserted into the patient's leg or arm and carefully manoeuvred to the artery needing attention.
  • These can range from narrow aisles to inadequate toilet facilities but for William his biggest headache is finding a suitable shopping trolley he can manoeuvre himself.
  • The strain, as a punter tries to manoeuvre a fully laden trolley around the end of an aisle is just colossal.
steer, guide, drive, negotiate, navigate, pilot, direct, manipulate, move, work, jockey
2 [with object and adverbial] Carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end: they were manoeuvring him into betraying his friend
More example sentences
  • They are forever busy manipulating and maneuvering situations to their advantage.
  • In response, she sought to manoeuvre his own people ahead of his supporters in the lists.
  • Along the way he's manoeuvred a group of marginal seat holders into more powerful positions.
intrigue, plot, scheme, plan, lay plans, conspire, pull strings;
North American  pull wires
rare machinate
2.1 [no object] Manipulate a situation to achieve an end: [with infinitive]: Rann was manoeuvring to elope with the girl
More example sentences
  • We have no confidence in its leaders, who've manipulated and maneuvered against our civic initiate for years.
  • No wonder the pre-election atmosphere can now be felt, particularly because the political elite have started maneuvering to serve their own and their groups' interests.
  • As interest groups stepped up their lobbying, the political parties continued maneuvering in advance of a potential Senate vote to bar the filibusters.
manipulate, contrive, manage, engineer, devise, plan, plot, fix, organize, arrange, set up, orchestrate, choreograph, stage-manage
informal wangle



Pronunciation: /məˈnuːv(ə)rə/
Example sentences
  • It is the operators and maneuverers who survive these deals, not the people doing the work.
  • This apparently convenient handle is more slippery than its maneuverers tend to appreciate.
  • With such a large roster, a lot of manoeuvrers have to be eliminated so as not to step on someone else's toes.


Mid 18th century (as a noun in the sense 'tactical movement'): from French manœuvre (noun), manœuvrer (verb), from medieval Latin manuoperare from Latin manus 'hand' + operari 'to work'.

  • Soldiers, sailors, and farmers come together in the words manoeuvre and manure (Late Middle English), which share the Latin origin manu operari ‘to work with the hand’, from manus ‘hand’ ( see manage, manner). The earliest sense of manoeuvre, which came from French in the mid 18th century, was ‘a planned movement of military or naval forces’. Old French gave us manure in the late Middle Ages. Then it had the senses ‘to cultivate land’ and ‘to administer or manage land or property’—the use for dung used on the land dates from the mid 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: man|oeuvre

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