operation

noun
op·​er·​a·​tion | \ ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio) \

Definition of operation

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.
2a : 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.
6a : 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

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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

According to the Washington Post, the massive case—which would involve 200 agents all over the country—was actually discovered through another, unrelated undercover operation. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is the College Admissions Scandal? Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Were Indicted," 15 Mar. 2019 China and Indonesia have suspended operations for all Boeing Max 8 jets following Sunday's catastrophic Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed 149 passengers and eight crew members. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Now Britain Is Grounding All Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets Following Catastrophic Ethiopia Crash," 11 Mar. 2019 The retailer has spent millions to expand online operations, but investments aimed at keeping pace with changes in the way people shop are undermining profits at the largest U.S supermarket chain, the WSJ’s Heather Haddon reports. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Shrinking Japan’s Fleet; Squeezing the Grocers; Highway Dividing Lines," 8 Mar. 2019 All locations are open, but hours of operation have yet to be announced. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Here's Which Stores Are Open on Easter Sunday—and Which Ones Are Closed," 14 Feb. 2019 His current position puts him at the top of an operation that includes art fairs, model agencies, UFC—the martial arts federation—and the Miss Universe organization. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Who Is Lauren Sanchez's Husband, Patrick Whitesell?," 8 Feb. 2019 There was also some concern that a looming government shutdown might affect operations this weekend. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch SpaceX launch its final Falcon 9 rocket of the year for the Air Force," 21 Dec. 2018 Instead, just don’t compare these two operations at all. Sara Altschule, SELF, "8 Things Not to Say to Someone After a Mastectomy," 3 Dec. 2018 While Meghan remained at home, Prince Harry traveled to Norway to visit Exercise Clockwork, a Royal Marines operation in Bardufoss celebrating its 50th anniversary. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Spent Valentine's Day in an Igloo Decorated with His Wedding Photos," 16 Feb. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for operation

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

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Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for operation

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

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More Definitions for operation

operation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of operation

: a process in which a doctor cuts into someone's body in order to repair or remove a damaged or diseased part
: a usually small business or organization
: an activity of a business or organization

operation

noun
op·​er·​a·​tion | \ ˌä-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio) \

Kids Definition of operation

1 : a set of actions for a particular purpose a rescue operation
2 : a medical procedure that involves cutting into a living body in order to repair or remove a damaged or diseased part I need an operation to remove my appendix.
3 : the process of putting military forces into action naval operations
4 : the state of working or being able to work The factory is now in operation.
5 : a method or manner of working The camera is designed for easy operation.
6 : a process (as addition or multiplication) of getting one mathematical expression from others according to a rule
7 : a single step performed by a computer in carrying out a program

operation

noun
op·​er·​a·​tion | \ ˌäp-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce operation (audio) \

Medical Definition of operation

: 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

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