Definition of operate
1 : to perform a function : exert power or influence factors operating against our success
2 : to produce an appropriate effect the drug operated quickly
3a : to perform an operation or a series of operations The refinery is planning to begin operating as soon as possible.b : to perform surgery The surgeon has been operating all morning.c : to carry on a military or naval action or mission The army will operate in conjunction with the air force.
4 : to follow a course of conduct that is often irregular crooked gamblers operating in the club
2a : to cause to function : work operate an automobileb : to put or keep in operation operated a grocery store
3 : to perform an operation on; especially : to perform surgery —usually used with on operate on a patient operating on a brain tumor
Examples of operate in a Sentence
They hope to have the windmill operating again tomorrow.
The camera also operates underwater.
The machine can operate at high speeds.
instructions for operating the new microwave oven
a license to operate a motor vehicle
The café is owned and operated by a young couple.
The organization operates a recycling program.
It's the only casino operating in the state.
The company operates from Chicago.
a militant group operating against the government
Recent Examples of operate from the Web
The United States currently operates one heavy icebreaker, the USCGC Polar Star, and one medium icebreaker, the USCGC Healy.
The network also operates Doctors NeuroPsychiatric Hospital in Bremen, Medical Behavioral Hospital in Mishawaka and NeuroPsyhciatric Hospital of Indianapolis.
Previously, the pollution equipment was programmed to operate at maximum effectiveness only under a narrow range of temperatures.
Claiming more than 560 vehicles and 1,000 drivers, the yellow taxis have traditionally operated at the U.S. border and other areas of the city frequented by visitors, including the airport, the central bus station and hotels in Río Zone.
Others incorrectly jumped to the conclusion the township was allowing an adult entertainment venue to operate in the area.
Under Raul Castro, the communist regime is loosening its grip on private enterprise, allowing small businesses like restaurants, tour companies, vintage taxis and such to operate.
Exceeding limits on production and storage of heavy water, a substance needed to operate plutonium-producing heavy-water nuclear reactors.
Hendershot finished his high school career with 2,170 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns, operating mostly at wide receiver.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'operate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of operate
Latin operatus, past participle of operari to work, from oper-, opus work; akin to Old English efnan to perform, Sanskrit apas work
First Known Use: 1588See Words from the same year
OPERATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of operate for English Language Learners
: to function or behave in a proper or particular way
: to use and control (something)
: to have control of (something, such as a business, department, program, etc.)
OPERATE Defined for Kids
Definition of operate for Students
1 : to work or cause to work in a proper or particular way The machine is operating smoothly. He will learn to operate a car.
2 : manage 1 They operate a farm.
3 : to perform surgery : do an operation on The doctors operated on the patient.
Medical Definition of operate
intransitive verb: to perform surgery
transitive verb: to perform surgery on operated the growth
Seen and Heard
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