Not many words in English use the vowel sequence ‘oeu’, which goes a long way to explaining why the word manoeuvre is tricky to get right. This is definitely case where a spell checker is your friend.
Manoeuvre picture from Shutterstock
In US English, the slightly simpler spelling maneuever is generally used instead. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘o’ being dropped eventually from the Australian version, that US spelling still follows the American pattern of using ‘er’ as an ending rather than ‘re’. As such, I’m not convinced it will take hold elsewhere in a huge hurry.
Certainly right now maneuvre isn’t acceptable in any kind of formal context involving Australian (or UK) English. It’s also not hard to find examples of the equally incorrect for everybody manuver popping up as well. (As always at Mind Your Language, we’re largely concerned with Australian spelling. But if you are choosing to deploy the US spelling, you need to be accurate and consistent with that as well.)
The only other vaguely common word in English with the ‘oeu’ sequence is oeuvre (the body of work of a writer, artist or composer). When you learn both words, learn them well. Accuracy matters. It’s an important linguistic manoeuvre.
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