Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4539
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:01 am

• maneuver •

Pronunciation: mê-nu-vêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) A skillful move or action taken to achieve some end, as tapping on a glass is a maneuver to get everyone's attention. 2. (Noun) A large-scale military exercise, as a division out on maneuvers. 3. (Verb) To direct around obstacles or over a course, as to maneuver a car along a serpentine road.

Notes: If you are in Britain or other English-speaking region that follows British orthography, remember to use the original French spelling: manoeuvre for today's word. The verb in this spelling is then conjugated: manoeuvres, manoeuvring, manoeuvred. The adjective and process noun with US spelling are simply maneuvering, but today's word comes with another adjective, maneuverable "capable of being maneuvered".

In Play: The sense of this word has broadened to include any kind of action or strategy to achieve an end: "Women don't seem susceptible to Percival's maneuvers to pick them up." The basic sense of the verb is to drive something along a crooked course: "Mildred bought a new car when her old one became difficult to maneuver."

Word History: Today's Good Word was originally the French manœuvrer, a reduction of a Latin phrase manu operari "to operate by hand". Manu "by hand" is the ablative case of manus "hand", which underlies English manual "by hand; handbook" and is found in many other borrowed words, including manufacture, manipulate, and manicure. Operari is derived from Latin opus "work", the plural of which is opera, a word we borrowed to use as a singular noun. French also developed a noun from the Latin phrase, manœvre, which was reduced in English to something quite different: manure, an etymological relationship that reminds me to wash my hands whenever I maneuver anything. (We thank Chris Stewart, our old friend from South Africa, for maneuvering today's Good Word our way.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5312
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Maneuver

Postby Slava » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:55 pm

Manure and maneuver are related. Such movements in meanings!

According to, until the late 18th century manure could also be used to fertilize the mind. Try using that one these days. A nice twist on saying someone's full of it.

"Well, I do believe he's over-manured his mind on this point."
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests