operate

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verb op·er·ate \ˈä-pə-ˌrāt, ˈä-ˌprāt\

Definition of operate

operated

;

operating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to perform a function :  exert power or influence factors operating against our success

  3. 2 :  to produce an appropriate effect the drug operated quickly

  4. 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.

  5. 4 :  to follow a course of conduct that is often irregular crooked gamblers operating in the club

  6. transitive verb
  7. 1 :  bring about, effect

  8. 2a :  to cause to function :  work operate an automobileb :  to put or keep in operation operated a grocery store

  9. 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

  1. They hope to have the windmill operating again tomorrow.

  2. The camera also operates underwater.

  3. The machine can operate at high speeds.

  4. instructions for operating the new microwave oven

  5. a license to operate a motor vehicle

  6. The café is owned and operated by a young couple.

  7. The organization operates a recycling program.

  8. It's the only casino operating in the state.

  9. The company operates from Chicago.

  10. a militant group operating against the government

Recent Examples of operate from the Web

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: 1588



OPERATE Defined for English Language Learners

operate

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verb

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

operate

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verb op·er·ate \ˈä-pə-ˌrāt\

Definition of operate for Students

operated

;

operating

  1. 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. 2 :  manage 1 They operate a farm.

  3. 3 :  to perform surgery :  do an operation on The doctors operated on the patient.


Medical Dictionary

operate

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verb op·er·ate \ˈäp-(ə-)ˌrāt\

Medical Definition of operate

operated

;

operating

  1. intransitive verb

  2. :  to perform surgery

  3. transitive verb

  4. :  to perform surgery on operated the growth



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