op·​er·​a·​tor | \ ˈä-pə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce operator (audio) , ˈä-ˌprā- \

Definition of operator

1 : one that operates: such as
a : one that operates a machine or device
b : one that operates a business
c : one that performs surgical operations
d : one that deals in stocks or commodities
b : a shrewd and skillful person who knows how to circumvent restrictions or difficulties
3a : something and especially a symbol that denotes or performs a mathematical or logical operation
b : a mathematical function
4 : a binding site in a DNA chain at which a genetic repressor binds to inhibit the initiation of transcription of messenger RNA by one or more nearby structural genes

called also operator gene

— compare operon

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Other Words from operator

operatorless adjective

Examples of operator in a Sentence

the operator of an automobile the operator of a nuclear power plant Call the operator for the phone number. Operator, please connect me with extension 123. She's quite an operator—no one else could have gotten them all to agree to the project.
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Recent Examples on the Web Four of the most recent employees to test positive for the virus, the three bus operators and one light rail operator, had contact with the public. Houston Chronicle, "METRO bus operators, light rail operators test positive for COVID-19," 10 July 2020 The Cleveland man was arrested and charged with OVI refusal, possession of cocaine and no operator’s license. Cheryl Higley, cleveland, "Man treated for accidental gunshot wound: North Ridgeville police blotter," 10 July 2020 Friday morning, that show — and three others that had been planned — were canceled by venue operator Pabst Theater Group due to rising cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Turner Hall Ballroom cancels newly scheduled concerts because of rise in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin," 10 July 2020 Portuguese charter operator Hi Fly has removed most of the seats from its sole A380 — the world's first to be converted for freight — to transport medical and protective equipment for Covid-19. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, July 9," 9 July 2020 Our platform allows one satellite operator to maintain 75 to 100 satellites. Ashton Nichols, Dallas News, "Q&A with Hypergiant’s Ben Lamm: How he scored a satellite deal with the U.S. Air Force," 9 July 2020 For toll operator Transurban, the stay-at-home measures could result in a 25-30% decline in Melbourne traffic during this half of the year from the same period in 2019. Jackie Edwards, Bloomberg.com, "New Melbourne Lockdown Could Hurt Airport, Hospital Stocks," 8 July 2020 That includes New Hampshire, where the most recent live telephone operator poll from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center put the former vice president up seven points over the GOP incumbent in the White House. Fox News, "New Hampshire governor stresses ‘it’s imperative’ attendees wear masks at Trump rally," 7 July 2020 Brijesh Pancholi is the proprietor of Chandan Travels, a travel agency and tour operator in Ahmedabad, India. National Geographic, "American tourists are banned from Europe, but not these countries," 7 July 2020

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for operator

borrowed from Late Latin operātor "worker, producer," from operārī "to work, be efficacious" + Latin -tor, agent suffix — more at operate

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Time Traveler for operator

Time Traveler

The first known use of operator was in 1598

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Statistics for operator

Last Updated

26 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Operator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operator. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for operator


How to pronounce operator (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of operator

: a person who uses and controls something (such as a machine, device, or business) : someone who operates something
: a person whose job is to help to connect telephone calls : a person who is in charge of a telephone switchboard
: a person who is able to easily achieve things especially by persuading people or by being dishonest


op·​er·​a·​tor | \ ˈä-pə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce operator (audio) \

Kids Definition of operator

1 : a person who manages or controls something a plow operator
2 : a person in charge of a telephone switchboard
3 : a person who is skillful at achieving things by persuasion or deception


op·​er·​a·​tor | \ ˈäp-(ə-)ˌrāt-ər How to pronounce operator (audio) \

Medical Definition of operator

1 : one (as a dentist or surgeon) who performs surgical operations
2 : a binding site in a DNA chain at which a genetic repressor binds to inhibit the initiation of transcription of messenger RNA by one or more nearby structural genes

called also operator gene

— compare operon

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