Definition of manipulative in US English:



  • 1Characterized by unscrupulous control of a situation or person.

    ‘she was sly, selfish, and manipulative’
    • ‘But what begins as manipulative flirtation soon turns into a dangerous and erotic game of passion, power and betrayal.’
    • ‘They were shrewd, but not smart; manipulative but not masterful.’
    • ‘There's something very calculating and manipulative about how he does things.’
    • ‘But what I admire, or more accurately, am in awe of, is his manipulative ability.’
    • ‘I'm increasingly angry at my brother and his wife for their manipulative ways.’
    • ‘It was silly and manipulative, but I liked it anyway, in part because of how silly and manipulative it was.’
    • ‘I don't want to hear about your mind games or your manipulative tricks anymore.’
    • ‘Police say he was manipulative, dishonest, cunning and intimidating.’
    • ‘When the crown passed to Edward, just ten years old and physically frail, the way opened for manipulative adults to seize control.’
    • ‘They are trained to perform osteopathic manipulative treatment.’
    • ‘Why is it when, after greatly resisting temptation you eventually weaken and submit to its manipulative forces?’
    • ‘It fitted with his manipulative desire to control and dominate.’
    • ‘For that, she is condemned as secretive and manipulative.’
    • ‘Francois Truffaut once said that the documentary is a thousand times more manipulative and deceptive than the work of fiction.’
    • ‘My sister had told me of incidents of violence in the past, and of controlling and manipulative behaviour.’
    • ‘He has been shown to be dishonest, calculating, egocentric, manipulative and a control freak.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the excruciating, manipulative girlfriend he's been trying to dump might have cancer.’
    • ‘Evie is a manipulative, dangerous and damaged character, but Tracy is blind to this and easily gets swallowed up in Evie's world.’
    • ‘You're not calculating, not manipulative, not any of those things.’
    • ‘She was certainly clever enough, but her nature was not conniving or manipulative in any way.’
    scheming, calculating, cunning, crafty, wily, shrewd, devious, designing, conniving, machiavellian, artful, guileful, slippery, slick, sly, unscrupulous, disingenuous, media-savvy
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  • 2Relating to manipulation of an object or part of the body.

    ‘a manipulative skill’
    • ‘He would also be unable to undertake employment which involved prolonged fine manipulative skills.’
    manual, done with one's hands, dexterous
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