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 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 Walgreens: Walgreens stores that regularly operate 24/7 will be open on Christmas, and most other locations will have reduced hours, typically from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "These Stores Will Be Open on Christmas Day This Year," 18 Dec. 2018 Pacific Yellowfin Charters, a yacht that mainly operates out of British Columbia; a more special crew of people, skill sets, and raw wilderness would be hard to find. Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor's Letter: The Hotels, Islands, and Cruises to Watch in 2019," 18 Dec. 2018 McDonald's - Since 95 percent of McDonald's restaurants are independently owned and operated, holiday hours will vary by location. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Here's What's Open on New Year's Day and New Year's Eve 2019," 28 Nov. 2018 The company operates with little cushion, and McClure had not pushed the government for early reimbursement for Unispec’s November work, which would typically be paid at the end of December. Neena Satija, The Seattle Times, "Federal contractors who lost health insurance during shutdown remain in limbo," 28 Jan. 2019 Optane boxed processor bundles for desktop PCs in the wake of Micron’s decision to buy out Intel’s stake in the 3D XPoint fab once jointly operated by both companies. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel kills Optane 'Core+' desktop processor bundles as 3D XPoint venture dissolves," 15 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for operate

Last Updated

13 Apr 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

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