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 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>
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
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
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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