"dung or compost used as fertilizer, any substance (especially the excrement of livestock) added to the soil to render it more fertile," 1540s, from manure (v.).
c. 1400, "to cultivate (land, a garden) by manual labor," also "to hold property, rule," from Anglo-French meynoverer (late 13c.), Old French manovrer "to work with the hands, cultivate; carry out; make, produce," from Medieval Latin manuoperare (see maneuver (n.))
Sense of "work the earth" led to "put dung and compost on the soil, treat (soil) with fertilizing materials" (1590s) and to the noun meaning "dung spread as fertilizer," which is first attested 1540s. Until late 18c., however, the verb still was used in a figurative sense of "to cultivate the mind, train the mental powers."
It is ... his own painfull study ... that manures and improves his ministeriall gifts. [Milton, 1641]
Related: Manured; manuring. Another Middle English word for "manuring" was donginge.
"planned movement of troops or warship," 1757, from French manoeuvre "manipulation, maneuver," from Old French manovre "manual labor" 13c.), from Medieval Latin manuopera (source of Spanish maniobra, Italian manovra), from manuoperare "work with the hands," from Latin manu operari, from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + operari "to work, operate" (from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance").
The same word had been borrowed from French into Middle English in a sense "hand-labor" (late 15c.; compare manure). General meanings "artful plan, ingenious scheme," also " an agile or adroit movement" (by a person or animal) are by 1774. Related: Maneuvers.
Coup de main, and Manoeuvre, might be excusable in Marshal Saxe, as he was in the service of France, and perfectly acquainted with both; but we cannot see what apology can be made for our officers lugging them in by head and shoulders, without the least necessity, as a sudden stroke might have done for one, and a proper motion, for the other. Reconnoitre is another favourite word in the military way; and as we cannot find out that it is much more significant than take a view, we beg leave it may be sent home again. ["The humble remonstrance of the mob of Great Britain, against the importation of French words, &c.," in Annual Register for the Year 1758]
late 15c., "to manure with compost;" 1829, "to make into compost;" from compost (n.). Related: Composted; composting.
late Old English dung "manure, decayed matter used to fertilize soil," from Proto-Germanic *dungō (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon dung "manure;" Old High German tunga "manuring," tung "underground room covered with manure;" German Dung; Old Norse dyngja "heap of manure, women's apartment;" Swedish dynga "dung, muck;" Danish dynge "heap, mass, pile"), perhaps from a PIE *dhengh- "covering" (source also of Lithuanian dengti "to cover," Old Irish dingim "I press").
The word recalls the ancient Germanic custom (reported by Tacitus) of covering underground shelters with manure to keep in warmth in winter. The meaning "animal excrement," whether used as fertilizer or not, is from late 13c.
It appears that the whole body of journeymen tailors is divided into two classes, denominated Flints and Dungs: the former work by the day and receive all equal wages; the latter work generally by the piece ["The Annual Register for the Year 1824," London, 1825].
Dung beetle, common name of the beetles which roll up balls of dung," is attested by 1630s. In colloquial American English, tumble-bug. An Old English word for it was tordwifel "turd weevil."
"to cover with manure," Middle English dungen, from Old English gedyngan, from the noun (see dung (n.)). Related: Dunged; dunging.
late 14c., mukken, "to dig in the ground," also "to remove manure;" c. 1400, "to spread manure, cover with muck," from muck (n.) or Old Norse moka (n.). Mucker "one who removes muck from stables" is attested by early 13c. as a surname. Meaning "to make dirty" is from 1832; in the figurative sense, "to make a mess of," it is from 1886; to muck about "mess around" is from 1856. To muck (something) up is by 1896 as "to dirty, soil;" 1922 as "make a mess of." Related: Mucked; mucking.