op·​er·​a·​tion·​al | \ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of operational 

1 : of or relating to operation or to an operation the operational gap between planning and production

2 : of, relating to, or based on operations

3a : of, engaged in, or connected with execution of military or naval operations in campaign or battle

b : ready for or in condition to undertake a destined function

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Other Words from operational

operationally adverb

Examples of operational in a Sentence

The new airport should be fully operational by next year. The computer network is now operational.

Recent Examples on the Web

The last of these four launched in October 2017, and the system is now operational. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry," 15 Nov. 2018 Belgium originally purchased 116 F-16 fighters, of which 58 were operational as of October 10. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Belgian F-16 Accidentally Fires Gatling Gun, Destroys Another F-16 on the Ground," 15 Oct. 2018 This capability could be operational sometime next year. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Nearly half all cell phone calls will be scams by 2019, report says," 21 Sep. 2018 The machine uses the same technology as CT scanners, providing a 3D image of a bag’s contents, and is expected to be operational in late July. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "American Airlines is using a CT scanner to screen luggage at New York’s JFK airport," 23 July 2018 The force would be fully operational by 2020 and Juncker says it should be funded by some 2.2 billion euros in EU money. Fox News, "The Latest: Malta contests Italian PM's account of rescue," 12 Sep. 2018 The operational status of the reactor was not clear. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "North Korea continues construction of nuclear research facility despite agreement to 'denuclearize': report," 27 June 2018 Only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and the motive. ... Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "Russia monitored poisoned spy's daughter's emails for years, British intelligence says," 13 Apr. 2018 In 2013, before the DBC prototype was operational, scientists from the lab worked with Chinese officials to manufacture a vaccine for an avian-flu strain. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "This Company Aims to Deliver DNA on Demand With Its Biological Fax Machine," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'operational.' 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 operational

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for operational

operation + -al entry 1

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for operational

The first known use of operational was in 1885

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English Language Learners Definition of operational

: ready for use : able to be used

: of or relating to the operation of a business or machine


op·​er·​a·​tion·​al | \ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shə-nᵊl \

Kids Definition of operational

: ready for use The new airport is now operational.


op·​er·​a·​tion·​al | \ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shə-nəl \

Legal Definition of operational 

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Comments on operational

What made you want to look up operational? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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