modus operandi

play
noun mo·dus ope·ran·di \ˌmō-dəs-ˌä-pə-ˈran-dē, -ˌdī\

Definition of modus operandi

plural

modi operandi

play \ˈmō-ˌdē-, ˈmō-ˌdī-\
  1. :  a method of procedure the best approach … was to do things through quiet persuasion, which was his modus operandi — James Traub; especially :  a distinct pattern or method of operation that indicates or suggests the work of a single criminal in more than one crime got her picture identified, discovered her modus operandi, and put a stakeout on her neighborhood — Time

Did You Know?

Modus operandi is Latin for "method of operating". The term is often associated with police work, and it's a favorite of mystery writers. In speech and dialogue, it's often abbreviated to "m.o". (as in "We're beginning to get a handle on the killer's m.o., but we can't go public with it yet"). But it's not only used in criminal contexts. So a frequent gambler who likes to play the horses may have a particular modus operandi for picking winners. And the familiar modus operandi of a cutthroat retailer may be to undersell competitors, drive them out of business, and then raise prices afterwards.

Origin and Etymology of modus operandi

New Latin


First Known Use: 1654


MODUS OPERANDI Defined for English Language Learners

modus operandi

play
noun mo·dus ope·ran·di \ˌmō-dəs-ˌä-pə-ˈran-dē, -ˌdī\

Definition of modus operandi for English Language Learners

  • : a usual way of doing something; especially : the usual way that a particular criminal performs a crime


Law Dictionary

modus operandi

play
noun mo·dus ope·ran·di \ˌmō-dəs-ˌä-pə-ˈran-dē, -ˌdī\

Legal Definition of modus operandi

  1. :  a distinct pattern or method of operation especially that indicates or suggests the work of a single criminal in more than one crime

Origin and Etymology of modus operandi

New Latin, manner of operating


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