operation

noun

op·​er·​a·​tion ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio)
1
: performance of a practical work or of something involving the practical application of principles or processes
Practice until you can go through the whole operation without hesitation or thinking.
2
a
: an exertion of power or influence
the operation of a drug
b
: the quality or state of being functional or operative
The plant is now in operation.
c
: a method or manner of functioning
a machine of very simple operation
3
: efficacy, potency
archaic except in legal usage
4
: a procedure performed on a living body usually with instruments especially for the repair of damage or defect or the restoration of health
needed an operation to remove his appendix
5
: any of various mathematical or logical processes (such as addition) of deriving one entity from others according to a rule
Multiplication is one mathematical operation.
6
a
: a usually military action, mission, or maneuver including its planning and execution
military operations for a large-scale invasion
b
operations plural : the office on the flight line of an airfield where pilots file clearance for flights and where flying from the field is controlled
c
operations plural : the agency of an organization charged with carrying on the principal planning and operating functions of a headquarters and its subordinate units
7
: a business transaction especially when speculative
continued his operations in cotton futures
8
: a single step performed by a computer in the execution of a program (see program entry 1 sense 6a)
9
: a usually small business or establishment
ran a struggling operation

Examples of operation in a Sentence

The family runs a small farming operation. The company is a billion-dollar operation.
Recent Examples on the Web Zahedi, a former commander of the IRGC’s ground forces, air force, and the deputy commander of its operations, is the most high-profile Iranian target killed since then-US President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020. Helen Regan, CNN, 2 Apr. 2024 Her day job is as director of interagency operations for the state, and she is usually based in Syracuse. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 Smile Hair Clinic offers a variety of high-quality hair transplant choices in Turkey in addition to performing a wide range of other medical and cosmetic operations. Chiara Accardi, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Apr. 2024 Ultimately, non-journalism majors might be enlisted to help with the business side of operations. Heather Hollingsworth, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2024 Summers also has prior coaching experience at James Madison and Division II Urbana (Ohio), as well as experience as a director of operations at JMU and associate head coach and compliance coordinator at Glenville State. Maddie Hartley, Kansas City Star, 2 Apr. 2024 For the first time, the GOP chair is drawing a salary as Republicans seek to bolster their operation heading into this year's presidential contest. Daniel Bice, Journal Sentinel, 2 Apr. 2024 Ireton was Kenta Maeda’s interpreter for most of his time with the Dodgers and then moved into a different role as the team’s manager of performance operations. Bill Plunkett, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2024 Interpreter changes In the wake of Mizuhara’s firing, Roberts said that Will Ireton, the team’s manager of performance operations, will serve as Ohtani’s interpreter in the interim. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'operation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English operacion "work, action, procedure performed on a body, functioning," borrowed from Medieval Latin operātiōn-, operātiō, going back to Latin, "application of effort, functioning (of natural forces)," from operārī "to busy oneself, be at work" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at operate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of operation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near operation

Cite this Entry

“Operation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operation. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

operation

noun
op·​er·​a·​tion ˌäp-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio)
1
: the act, process, method, or result of operating
does the whole operation without stopping
the operation of a drug
2
: the quality or state of being able to work or function
put a factory into operation
3
: a procedure performed on a living body usually with medical instruments especially to restore health or repair damage or defect
4
: a mathematical or logical process (as addition or multiplication) for getting one mathematical expression from others according to a rule
5
: the process of putting military or naval forces into action
6
: a single step in a computer program
7
: a usually small business or establishment

Medical Definition

operation

noun
op·​er·​a·​tion ˌäp-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio)
: a procedure performed on a living body usually with instruments for the repair of damage or the restoration of health and especially one that involves incision, excision, or suturing

More from Merriam-Webster on operation

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