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
Florida CFO Jeff Atwater speaks during a news conference, Feb. 4, 2014 in Miami, where Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced that 22 people had been charged in a major home insurance fraud ring operating in South Florida.
The move comes in the wake of a decision earlier this year to sell the Valparaiso and South Bend operation to former company vice president Ron Donohue, who now operates as InHealth Integrated Care, which provides nonemergency ambulance services.
A spokesman for the consortium of contractors that operates Los Alamos referred questions about Anderson’s reported actions to the NNSA, whose spokesman didn’t address those specific questions.
President Donald Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, wasn’t seated until April, so the court operated with just eight justices for much of the term.
The Volturri operated like the mob, hence that subtle decision to base them in Italy.
But even even Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) and Hector—who get to fight their way out, clotheslessly, in the end—are operating under someone’s orders.
Despite expecting lower revenues next year, Grapevine-Colleyville school board members approved the increase, along with a general operating budget of $172 million at the June 19 board meeting.
A Gary woman who operates her own pet grooming business made a donation to the Gary Fire Department meant to improve the chances of saving pets who might get caught in a fire.
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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