operate

verb
op·​er·​ate | \ ˈä-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce operate (audio) , ˈä-ˌprāt\
operated; operating

Definition of operate

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

2a : to cause to function : work operate an automobile
b : 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

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Synonyms for operate

Synonyms

handle, run, work

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

The plane, operated by Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier, was bound from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for the northwestern city of Murmansk. ... Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, "Russian Investigators Examine Black Boxes for Cause of Sukhoi Jet Fire," 6 May 2019 The Beauts, who averaged 1,101 fans per game, are operated by the Pegula family that owns the Buffalo Sabres while the Pride and Riveters have strategic partnerships with the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "NHL franchise in hand, the push to bring women’s professional hockey to Seattle begins in earnest," 16 Apr. 2019 The Lush United States branch appears to be operating as usual. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Lush Cosmetics U.K. Will No Longer Use Social Media — Here’s Why," 9 Apr. 2019 Walmart will in fact be open on Easter and will operate under its normal hours. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Is Walmart Open on Easter? Here Are the Superstore's Holiday Hours," 11 Mar. 2019 Sheriff's officials said 35 people were on the bus operated by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express. Fox News, "3 people killed, 24 injured after multi-vehicle crash involving tour bus in New Mexico," 2 Oct. 2018 The last facility, Jim Creek, is a communications facility designed to link the U.S. Navy with its ballistic missile submarines that operate out of Kitsap, Washington. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russian State TV Lists U.S. Targets for Putin’s New Nukes--But One Target Doesn't Make Sense," 26 Feb. 2019 For instance, Community Health Advocates, a free service that operates under the Community Service Society of New York, works with the privately insured, publicly insured, and uninsured to navigate the minefield of health care bills. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "8 Ways to Negotiate and Pay Off Expensive Medical Bills," 15 Feb. 2019 Of course, the president either forgot about or was not aware of the Voice of America and other broadcasters that operate under the aegis of the US Agency for Global Media. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Talk amongst yourselves: 2018’s most-commented stories on Ars," 24 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of operate

1588, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for operate

borrowed from Late Latin operātus, past participle of operārī "to work, be efficacious, effect, produce," going back to Latin, "to busy oneself, be at work," probably back-formation from operātus "busy, engaged, occupied with religious observances," from opera "activity, effort" + -ātus -ate entry 3 — more at opera entry 2

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Learn More about operate

Statistics for operate

Last Updated

11 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for operate

The first known use of operate was in 1588

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More Definitions for operate

operate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of operate

: 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

verb
op·​er·​ate | \ ˈä-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce operate (audio) \
operated; operating

Kids Definition of operate

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 sense 1 They operate a farm.
3 : to perform surgery : do an operation on The doctors operated on the patient.

operate

verb
op·​er·​ate | \ ˈäp-(ə-)ˌrāt How to pronounce operate (audio) \
operated; operating

Medical Definition of operate

intransitive verb

: to perform surgery

transitive verb

: to perform surgery on operated the growth

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More from Merriam-Webster on operate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with operate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for operate

Spanish Central: Translation of operate

Nglish: Translation of operate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of operate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on operate

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