from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A movement or combination of movements involving skill and dexterity.
  • noun A controlled change in movement or direction of a moving vehicle or vessel, as in the flight path of an aircraft.
  • noun A strategic or tactical military or naval movement.
  • noun A large-scale tactical exercise carried out under simulated conditions of war.
  • noun A skillful or cunning action undertaken to gain an end: synonym: wile.
  • noun The undertaking of such actions.
  • intransitive verb To make a controlled series of changes in movement or direction toward an objective.
  • intransitive verb To carry out a military or naval maneuver.
  • intransitive verb To act with skill or cunning in gaining an end.
  • intransitive verb To move or direct through a series of movements or changes in course.
  • intransitive verb To alter the tactical placement of (troops or warships).
  • intransitive verb To manipulate into a desired position or toward a predetermined goal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A planned and regulated movement, particularly of troops or warvessels; any strategic evolution, movement, or change of position among companies, battalions, regiments, or of a ship or ships, etc.—2. Management with address or artful design; an adroit move or procedure; intrigue; stratagem.
  • noun An affected trick of manner to attract notice: as, he is full of manœuvers.
  • To perform manœuvers; move or change positions among troops or ships for the purpose of advantageous attack or defense, or in military exercise for the purpose of discipline.
  • To manage with address or art; employ intrigue or stratagem to effect a purpose.
  • To change the position of, as troops or ships; cause to perform strategic evolutions.
  • To affect in some specified way by a manœuver or by manœuvers.
  • To manipulate.
  • See manœuver.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Management; dexterous movement; specif., a military or naval evolution, movement, or change of position.
  • noun Management with address or artful design; adroit proceeding; stratagem.
  • intransitive verb To perform a movement or movements in military or naval tactics; to make changes in position with the intention of getting an advantage in attack or defense.
  • intransitive verb To make changes in one's approach to solving a problem, so as to achieve maximum advantage in a changing situation; -- used especially in competitive situations, as in politics, diplomacy, or sports.
  • intransitive verb To manage with address or art; to scheme.
  • transitive verb To change the positions of, as of troops of ships.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US A movement, often one performed with difficulty.
  • noun US, often plural A large training field exercise of military troops.
  • verb US (transitive) To move (something) carefully, and often with difficulty, into a certain position.
  • verb figuratively (transitive) To guide, steer, manage purposefully
  • verb figuratively (intransitive) To intrigue, manipulate, plot, scheme

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a military training exercise
  • noun an action aimed at evading an opponent
  • noun a move made to gain a tactical end
  • verb perform a movement in military or naval tactics in order to secure an advantage in attack or defense
  • noun a plan for attaining a particular goal
  • verb direct the course; determine the direction of travelling
  • noun a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
  • verb act in order to achieve a certain goal


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French manœuvre, from Old French maneuvre, manual work, from Medieval Latin manuopera, from Latin manū operārī, to work by hand : manū, ablative of manus, hand; see man- in Indo-European roots + operārī, to work; see op- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French manoeuvre ("manipulation, maneuver") and manœuvrer ("to maneuver"), from Old French manovre ("handwork, manual labour"), from Medieval Latin manopera, manuopera ("work done by hand, handwork"), from manu ("by hand") + operari ("to work"). First recorded in the Capitularies of Charlemagne (800 CE) to mean "chore, manual task", probably as a calque of the Frankish *handwerc ("hand-work"). Compare Old English handweorc, handġeweorc, German Handwerk.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word maneuver.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.