operator

noun

op·​er·​a·​tor ˈä-pə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce operator (audio)
ˈä-ˌprā-
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
2
b
: a shrewd and skillful person who knows how to circumvent restrictions or difficulties
3
a
: 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
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Two jurors from the 2008 trial wrote letters seeking leniency for the dispensary operators. Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Some employees might be offered roles at Mattos’s other spots (which include Estela, Lodi, and Altro Paradiso), while most will stay on under Nine Orchard’s operators. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 21 Feb. 2024 Like many theater operators, Randleman was devastated by the delay. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 20 Feb. 2024 The system allows the operator to lay minefields from as far as 15 kilometers away. Justin Ling, WIRED, 19 Feb. 2024 If a platform operator doesn't qualify as a deemed seller, it's categorized as an intermediary for VAT purposes. Aleksandra Bal, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Officials said the operator was able to climb out of a rear window and return to safety prior to rescue crews' arrival. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 16 Feb. 2024 Careless is a lesser charge than reckless and typically applies to an operator who has been inattentive at the wheel. David Goodhue, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 Airport representatives fielded 34 proposals from food operators eager to serve hungry and thirsty travelers. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'operator.' 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

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

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of operator was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near operator

Cite this Entry

“Operator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operator. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

operator

noun
op·​er·​a·​tor ˈäp-(ə-)ˌrāt-ər How to pronounce operator (audio)
1
: a person who operates something
the operator of an automobile
2
: a person in charge of a telephone switchboard

Medical Definition

operator

noun
op·​er·​a·​tor ˈäp-(ə-)ˌrāt-ər How to pronounce operator (audio)
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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!