modus operandi

mo·​dus ope·​ran·​di | \ˌmō-dəs-ˌä-pə-ˈran-dē, -ˌdī\
plural modi operandi\ˈmō-​ˌdē-​, ˈmō-​ˌdī-​ \

Definition of modus operandi 

: 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

Examples of modus operandi in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If the-more-bubbles-the-better is your modus operandi in the tub, meet the creamy bath time elixir of your dreams. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why a Hot Ginger Bath Is the Perfect Detox Ritual for Winter," 26 Nov. 2018 So, if seeing and being seen is your modus operandi, head to the Lower Manhattan hotspot and order—what else?—a Manhattan. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Just the Cocktails to Order When You Need a Drink During New York Fashion Week," 7 Sep. 2018 As the Weinstein bombshells continued, actresses like Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Salma Hayek came forward to share their own alleged experiences with him—detailing a modus operandi that the executive had seemingly used for decades. Julie Miller, HWD, "GLOW Didn’t Need Harvey Weinstein to Inspire Its #MeToo Moment," 29 June 2018 That’s long been modus operandi at Silicon Valley’s most brand-conscious firms. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "What’s so wrong with Silicon Valley investing in sin?," 9 July 2018 The decision by Kelly and other top White House aides to defend Porter from domestic-violence allegations is in keeping with Trump’s modus operandi. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "Senior White House official to resign after ex-wives’ allegations of abuse," 7 Feb. 2018 Each crime fit the same modus operandi including the suspect’s build and weapon description, the report said. John R. Ellement,, "Boston police arrest suspect in 24 armed robberies," 6 July 2018 Making demagogic declarations of trade war — and then letting the Goldman Sachs wing of the White House quietly defang his threats — seemed perfectly consistent with the president’s broader modus operandi. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Raises Taxes on Chinese Goods, Eyes Foreign Cars Next," 15 June 2018 What has become his modus operandi this year, Woods was left shaking his head and pondering what could have been after a round of golf, his latest being the third round of the Quicken Loans National. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods frustrated after inconsistent third round at Quicken Loans National," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modus operandi.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of modus operandi

1654, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for modus operandi

New Latin

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7 Dec 2018

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The first known use of modus operandi was in 1654

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modus operandi


English Language Learners Definition of modus operandi

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

modus operandi

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

Legal Definition of modus operandi 

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

History and Etymology for modus operandi

New Latin, manner of operating

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