Definitions

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

  • adj. Of or relating to the hands: manual skill.
  • adj. Done by, used by, or operated with the hands.
  • adj. Employing human rather than mechanical energy: manual labor.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or resembling a small reference book.
  • n. A small reference book, especially one giving instructions.
  • n. Music A keyboard, as of an organ or harpsichord, played with the hands.
  • n. A machine operated by hand.
  • n. Prescribed movements in the handling of a weapon, especially a rifle: the manual of arms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Performed with the hands (of an activity).
  • adj. Operated by means of the hands (of a machine, device etc.).
  • n. A handbook.
  • n. A booklet that instructs on the usage of a particular machine.
  • n. A keyboard for the hands on a harpsichord, organ, or other musical instrument.
  • n. A manual transmission; a gearbox, especially of a motorized vehicle, shifted by the operator.
  • n. A vehicle with a manual transmission.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the hand.
  • adj. Performed by a person using physical as contrasted with mental effort.
  • adj. Done or made by the hand. In some contexts, contrasted with automatic or mechanical.
  • n. A small book, such as may be carried in the hand, or conveniently handled; a handbook; specifically, the service book of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • n. A keyboard of an organ or harmonium for the fingers, as distinguished from the pedals; a clavier, or set of keys.
  • n. A prescribed exercise in the systematic handing of a weapon

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to the hand; performed, made, or used by the hand; employing the hands: as, manual dexterity or skill; manual labor; a manual operation; the manual arts.
  • Having hands.
  • In zoology, of or pertaining to the manus or hand: distinguished from pedal: as, manual muscles, those which lie wholly in the hand.
  • n. A small book, such as may be carried in the hand or conveniently handled; especially, a book of convenient size containing the elements of a science, a collection of rules, or the like, designed for use as a text-book or as a reference-book: as, a manual of laws.—2. Specifically, an office-book of the medieval Catholic Church in England, containing the form to be observed by priests in the administration of the sacraments of communion (out of mass), baptism, penance, marriage, and extreme unction, and in churchings, burials, etc.
  • n. In music: In a musical instrument, a key or lever for the hands or fingers; a digital. See key, 4 , and keyboard.
  • n. In organs, a keyboard for the hands: opposed to pedal: as, an organ with two manuals. Abbreviated M.
  • n. A fire-engine worked by hand, as distinguished from the more modern steam fire-engine. See fire-engine.

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

  • n. a small handbook
  • adj. requiring human effort
  • n. (military) a prescribed drill in handling a rifle
  • adj. of or relating to the hands
  • adj. doing or requiring physical work

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French manuel, from Latin manuālis, from manus, hand; see manus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French manuel, from Late Latin manuāle (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman manuel, manual, from Latin manuālis, from manus ("hand"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • in mountain biking and cycling, it's a wheelie (riding on the back wheel) where the rider does not pedal to maintain the wheelie. This is typically done on a slight downhill gradient.

    January 12, 2013