operative

adjective
op·er·a·tive | \ˈä-p(ə-)rə-tiv, ˈä-pə-ˌrā-\

Definition of operative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : producing an appropriate effect : efficacious operative techniques

b : most significant or essential the operative word in a phrase the operative facts

2 : exerting force or influence : operating an operative statute

3a : having to do with physical operations (as of machines) operative skills

b : working an operative craftsman

4 : based on or consisting of an operation operative dentistry The disease may require operative treatment.

operative

noun

Definition of operative (Entry 2 of 2)

: operator: such as

a : artisan, mechanic

b : a secret agent

c : private investigator

d : a person who works toward achieving the objectives of a larger interest political operatives

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Other Words from operative

Adjective

operatively adverb
operativeness noun

Examples of operative in a Sentence

Adjective

The factory must pass inspection before it becomes operative. The telephone system is now fully operative. If I go, I will bring a salad. “If,” however, is the operative word, since I am not sure that I can go.

Noun

CIA operatives take terrible risks to find out the secrets of foreign countries. set in the 1930s, the novel is about a washed-out operative working for a third-rate detective agency
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the post-campaign forum hosted by Google, Matt Oczkowski, the head of product for Cambridge - and the operative Parscale was initially looking to poach - said the Trump campaign did not embrace the psychographic techniques the company used. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Inside the Trump campaign's ties with Cambridge Analytica," 21 Mar. 2018 The most common non-operative treatment is bracing. Dr. Carolyn Kienstra And Dr. Alicia Morrisson, miamiherald, "Scoliosis a common condition that could require medical care," 12 June 2018 Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said. Fox News, "New York doctor pleads guilty in fatal abortion," 8 May 2018 Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "New York doctor pleads guilty in woman's botched abortion death," 7 May 2018 Worker representation on boards is one suggestion; a move towards employee-owned or co-operative-style firms is another. The Economist, "Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?," 14 June 2018 Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said. Fox News, "New York doctor pleads guilty in fatal abortion," 8 May 2018 Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "New York doctor pleads guilty in woman's botched abortion death," 7 May 2018 Since February, Nelson has been working at Phillips Manor Nursing Home in Lynn as part of her school’s co-operative education program. Julia Preszler, BostonGlobe.com, "Determination drives Lynn Tech’s Nelson from homeless to scholarship winner," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In March, a Virginia man who filmed a deadly car attack last summer at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, sued Jones, alleging that Jones had falsely labeled him a CIA operative and publicly accused him of staging the attack. NBC News, "Six more families sue Alex Jones over Sandy Hook conspiracy claims," 23 May 2018 John Olsen, a former state party chairman and past president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, remembered when Murphy was a young political operative. Neil Vigdor, courant.com, "Chris Murphy Exerts Power Over The Democratic Ticket," 18 May 2018 Homeland, which stars Claire Danes as a CIA operative with bipolar disorder, premiered in 2011. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Marti Noxon Wants to Put Angry Women on TV," 15 May 2018 Griffith was a political operative helping the Trump campaign secure votes in battleground states in 2016. Bloomberg.com, "Trump Said to Name Energy Department Official as Top Energy Aide," 25 Mar. 2018 Wahlberg plays a former CIA operative who advises Harris and the elder Getty. Patrick Cooley, cleveland.com, "Outrage follows report that Mark Wahlberg earned 1,500 times more than female co-star for 'All the Money in the World' reshoots," 10 Jan. 2018 The cell comprised of more than 20 suspected operatives, most of them Hamas members. Yaakov Lappin, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Shin Bet reports breaking up Hamas terror cell in West Bank," 19 June 2018 Pyongyang and its operatives also are taking advantage of light corporate oversight in Hong Kong and other Asian hubs to hide transactions and trade through shell companies. Ian Talley, WSJ, "U.S. Sanctions Target North Korea’s Vast International Finance Network," 28 May 2018 Reuters reported this week that Mueller has subpoenaed two of Stone’s aides — John Kakanis, who has worked as a driver, accountant, and operative for Stone, and Jason Sullivan, a social media expert. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Roger Stone acknowledges he might be indicted," 20 May 2018

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

circa 1810, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for operative

Adjective

Middle English operatif "active, working," borrowed from Late Latin operātīvus, from operātus, past participle of operārī "to work, be efficacious" + Latin -īvus -ive — more at operate

Noun

derivative of operative entry 1

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Statistics for operative

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for operative

The first known use of operative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for operative

operative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of operative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: ready for use : capable of being used

: most important

operative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of operative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who does secret work for a government or political organization

: a person who does work that involves using tools, operating machinery, etc.

operative

adjective
op·er·a·tive | \ˈäp-(ə-)rət-iv, ˈäp-ə-ˌrāt- \

Medical Definition of operative 

: of, relating to, involving, or resulting from an operation operative treatment operative mortality rates

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Comments on operative

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