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

Six days later, those operating rooms were also closed. CBS News, "Seattle Children's Hospital mold infections leave one dead, force closure of most operating rooms," 3 July 2019 The infections follow several operating rooms being shut down in May by the detection of Aspergillus mold in the air. Chris Boyette, CNN, "Seattle Children's Hospital operating rooms shut down after a patient dies of mold infection," 3 July 2019 India’s Central Railway said in a tweet that ‘‘nature’s fury’’ made operating trains a ‘‘safety hazard’’ in some areas. Rafiq Maqbool, BostonGlobe.com, "Multiple walls collapse in India monsoon rains, 31 killed," 2 July 2019 Rahn’s letter said operating funds the state of Maryland contributes to WMATA won’t be impacted. Luke Broadwater, baltimoresun.com, "Demanding an audit, Maryland Gov. Hogan withholds $55M from Washington Metro transit system," 2 July 2019 In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the local operating budget was reduced by $12 million, or roughly 8%, to make up for the loss in state funding, said borough manager John Moosey. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Governor’s cut to funding for school bond debt will mean higher property taxes in Anchorage, mayor says," 30 June 2019 Sunday’s developments mark the first time state lawmakers have failed to pass an operating budget on time since 2009, during the throes of the Great Recession. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com, "Ohio legislature OKs band-aid budget after missing legal deadline," 30 June 2019 Oregon will be able to charge up to $20 on each oil tank car entering Oregon or loaded in the state, plus a small annual fee on railroads’ gross operating revenues in Oregon. oregonlive.com, "Bill requiring safety plans for oil trains in Oregon heads to Gov. Brown," 29 June 2019 Board members consider detailed reports that outline the condition of the housing stock, the rent tenants are already paying and landlords’ operating costs. New York Times, "Live in a Regulated Apartment? New York City Just Decided Your Rent," 25 June 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

6 Jul 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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