Definition of manipulate in English:



  • 1Handle or control (a tool, mechanism, etc.), typically in a skillful manner.

    ‘he manipulated the dials of the set’
    • ‘The surgeon can perform intricate procedures by using joystick-like controls to manipulate the surgical instruments.’
    • ‘With it they are able to manipulate objects as well as if they had hands.’
    • ‘One robotic arm is used to position the endoscope to provide visualisation of the operative site, while the other two robotic arms manipulate surgical instruments under the surgeon's control.’
    • ‘In art classes, each student explores and manipulates varied tools and mediums.’
    • ‘Thus, I was able to manipulate the ropes and free myself from them.’
    operate, handle, work, control, use, employ, utilize
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    1. 1.1Alter, edit, or move (text or data) on a computer.
      • ‘The digital record can be edited and manipulated down to the level of single bits, just like genomic DNA.’
      • ‘The PC's ability to record, rip, store and manipulate audio and video makes it a great media server.’
      • ‘Character devices, such as serial ports and keyboards, manipulate data as a stream of characters, or bytes, one at a time.’
      • ‘Data, once entered, can be more easily manipulated, moved, modified, and deleted.’
      • ‘Each time data is moved or manipulated, the data blocks must be checked and rechecked for consistency.’
      • ‘This behavior becomes very dangerous when people rely on a computer to store and manipulate important data but fail to back up those data.’
      • ‘This is a big plus for anyone wishing to manipulate documents without needing to have the creator application present.’
      • ‘My diagnosis is that since he is on broadband cable Internet, and has no firewall, someone actually hacked into his computer and is manipulating his system just for kicks.’
      • ‘She scans old family pictures or photographs her relatives with a digital camera, and manipulates the results by computer.’
      • ‘In this form countless copies can be made, and, more importantly, images can be manipulated by computer in many appropriate ways.’
      • ‘However, even with these basic commands, you can successfully manipulate text files from within your own shell scripts or right from the command line.’
      • ‘Finally, I have extensive experience using computers to manage and manipulate images, including type.’
      • ‘They are the basic commands for manipulating both files and directories.’
      • ‘For the last few years, Nuchi has been drawing with pixels, the smallest elements that can be manipulated using a computer.’
      • ‘Surgeons can also benefit from interactive software tools that allow them to manipulate information from previously acquired images.’
      • ‘You can then create, edit and manipulate any audio files you like.’
      • ‘These programs enable you to manipulate text patches easily in all sorts of useful ways, and they have saved kernel developers many hours of tedious work.’
      • ‘Image editing software can manipulate and change digital images on the computer.’
      • ‘Java provides predefined methods for manipulating the indexed lists.’
      • ‘Rather than pass out memos or draw on whiteboards, workers use collaborative software to manipulate documents on plasma screens that also function as videoconference systems.’
    2. 1.2Examine or treat (a part of the body) by feeling or moving it with the hand.
      ‘a system of healing based on manipulating the ligaments of the spine’
      • ‘Gently manipulating parts of the body can help treat development disorders, sleeplessness, bed-wetting, allergies and asthma.’
      • ‘Physicians use their hands to diagnose injury and illness and manipulate the musculoskeletal system to encourage the body to heal.’
      • ‘A trainer assists him with physical therapy, manipulating his body to prepare the joints for the rigors of swinging a golf club as violently as Woods does.’
      • ‘During a massage, a therapist manipulates your body's soft tissues - your muscles, skin and tendons - using his or her fingertips, hands and fists.’
      • ‘Practitioners claim that gently manipulating the bones of the cranium can correct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, by restoring the skull to its natural shape.’
      • ‘By manipulating these pressure points, ancient Chinese physicians could treat the most complicated of disease.’
      • ‘While the patient's right hip was being manipulated during a physical examination, her pain abruptly disappeared, along with the tender mass.’
      • ‘Manual healing treats medical problems by manipulating and realigning body parts.’
      • ‘The therapy was developed in France, but is rooted in the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture, where pressure points relating to specific parts of the body are manipulated to alleviate particular problems.’
      massage, rub, knead, feel, palpate
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  • 2Control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.

    ‘the masses were deceived and manipulated by a tiny group’
    • ‘He's smart enough to be manipulating the situation to ensure that he stays in power.’
    • ‘It might've been the reason why he could manipulate people.’
    • ‘She had manipulated me, controlled me, made me her tool, her minion, her puppet.’
    • ‘Don't allow judgmental and critical people to influence and manipulate you, as you are ready to make a final decision about the past.’
    • ‘Machiavelli urged rulers to study human nature so that they could control politics by manipulating their subjects.’
    • ‘We should always be trying to influence and manipulate our opponents - this is critical - but there is only so much we can do about that.’
    • ‘It requires a seasoned politician to take advantage of a no-win situation and manipulate circumstances to drive home a point.’
    • ‘He was gauging the class; calculating and deciding exactly how best manipulate the situation to his advantage.’
    • ‘So his little game of semantics backfires on him, a very interesting development indeed considering how clever he can be at manipulating a situation.’
    • ‘There is a popular anti-corporate, progressive argument that sees market research and advertising as a sinister attempt to manipulate people.’
    • ‘She knows her best strength is the way she can control and manipulate men.’
    • ‘Besides, it turned out the child in question was actually happier with his father, and the whole situation was manipulated by the mother.’
    • ‘The man was described at Manchester Crown Court as a strict father who controlled and manipulated his children and was also in total charge of his wife.’
    • ‘I unconsciously manipulate situations to my advantage’
    • ‘Both involved persons in authority who used half-truths and recklessly false statements to manipulate people who trusted them.’
    • ‘During her visits with her mother, there's a suggestion that Ingrid is still somehow controlling or manipulating her confused child.’
    • ‘O'Neill knows how to manipulate situations to his team's advantage too.’
    • ‘And there are too many parties who think they can manipulate those incensed people for political advantage.’
    • ‘In most cases toddlers already know how to emotionally manipulate their parents and most stop crying very soon after the parent has left.’
    • ‘He manipulates people and events to suit his own purpose and any opposition to his will is seen as disloyalty.’
    exploit, control, influence, turn to one's advantage, use to one's advantage, manoeuvre, engineer, steer, direct, guide, twist round one's little finger, work, orchestrate, choreograph
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    1. 2.1Alter (data) or present (statistics) so as to mislead.
      • ‘I don't agree that we should manipulate data, and present only bits of broader data, to perpetuate a political agenda using conjecture and not science.’
      • ‘Market forces require businesses to manipulate information to stay in business, she says.’
      • ‘Instead he exaggerated, distorted, suppressed and manipulated the information for political ends.’
      • ‘He was too innocent to manipulate the information I freely gave him.’
      • ‘The seller controls and manipulates information about its products or services to influence buyer behavior.’
      • ‘And he said many people in the security services were ‘disgusted with the way in which the government manipulated their information’.’
      • ‘Being able to manipulate words didn't seem like such an evil gift though.’
      • ‘In this mad pursuit of history itself, the facts of the past in so far as they are known are blatantly manipulated and distorted.’
      • ‘The court found that they had indeed libeled the good doctor by manipulating the facts to suit the story and he was awarded a million dollars plus.’
      • ‘Yes, the headline numbers can be and will continue to be manipulated, massaged and presented in as bullish a light as possible.’
      • ‘The misconduct involves companies manipulating the books to show profits that didn't exist.’
      falsify, rig, distort, alter, change, doctor, massage, juggle, tamper with, fiddle with, tinker with, interfere with, misrepresent, fudge, corrupt
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Early 19th century: back-formation from earlier manipulation, from Latin manipulus handful.