operative


1op·er·a·tive

adjective \ˈä-p(ə-)rə-tiv, ˈä-pə-ˌrā-\

: ready for use : capable of being used

: most important

Full Definition of OPERATIVE

1
a :  producing an appropriate effect :  efficacious
b :  most significant or essential <the operative word in a phrase>
2
:  exerting force or influence :  operating
3
a :  having to do with physical operations (as of machines)
b :  working <an operative craftsman>
4
:  based on or consisting of an operation <operative dentistry>
op·er·a·tive·ly adverb
op·er·a·tive·ness noun

Examples of OPERATIVE

  1. The factory must pass inspection before it becomes operative.
  2. The telephone system is now fully operative.
  3. If I go, I will bring a salad. If, however, is the operative word, since I am not sure that I can go.

First Known Use of OPERATIVE

15th century

2operative

noun

: a person who does secret work for a government or political organization

: a person who does work that involves using tools, operating machinery, etc.

Full Definition of OPERATIVE

:  operator: as
a :  artisan, mechanic
b :  a secret agent
c :  private detective
d :  a person who works toward achieving the objectives of a larger interest <political operatives>

Examples of OPERATIVE

  1. <CIA operatives take terrible risks to find out the secrets of foreign countries.>
  2. <set in the 1930s, the novel is about a washed-out operative working for a third-rate detective agency>

First Known Use of OPERATIVE

circa 1810

op·er·a·tive

adjective \ˈäp-(ə-)rət-iv, ˈäp-ə-ˌrāt-\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of OPERATIVE

: of, relating to, involving, or resulting from an operation <operative treatment> <operative mortality rates>

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: operatize
Previous Word in the Dictionary: operations research
All Words Near: operative

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up operative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More