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

The measure is built around a voluntary agreement between the 20-year-old park, which incorporates city and state land, and its restaurants, concession operators and other tenants. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Hudson River Park Goes Green by Banning Plastic Water Bottles," 19 May 2019 On May 5, a Sukhoi Superjet, operated by Russian operator Aeroflot, was struck by lightning shortly after takeoff at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, becoming a devastating fireball down the tarmac after landing. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Russian Jet Makes a Fiery Landing After Being Struck By Lightning," 6 May 2019 Advertising Oppenheimer says unlicensed operators often pose much greater risk to the health and safety of children. Hayley Harding, The Seattle Times, "Looking for the perfect child care? Join the waiting list.," 13 Apr. 2019 Jackson loving his roll as camera operator Since Zach was 14 years old, he's been earning a profit from his role on his family's TLC show. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Zach Roloff's Net Worth? Here's What the 'Little People, Big World' Star Does for a Living," 2 Apr. 2019 This was likely due to calls from telecom operators and calls made related to the general election, the company said. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Spam calls grew 300 percent worldwide in 2018, according to Truecaller," 18 Dec. 2018 More than 20 global operators and 20 global hardware makers are on board with 5G, Malladi said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Meet Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855: AI boosts, a smarter camera, mobile gaming—and bye-bye, JPEG," 5 Dec. 2018 Such unprecedented regulatory intervention would threaten the interconnection arrangements supporting the modern Internet and impair network performance to the detriment of network operators and their customers. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Comcast complains it will make less money under Calif. net neutrality law," 16 Oct. 2018 Finch said the Las Vegas mass shooting and similar incidents may lead hotel operators and other companies to consider looking into the protections offered under the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002. Regina Garcia Cano, Fox News, "Security for stadiums, malls get US approval. But not hotels," 27 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for operator

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for operator

The first known use of operator was in 1598

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More Definitions for operator



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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More from Merriam-Webster on operator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with operator

Spanish Central: Translation of operator

Nglish: Translation of operator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of operator for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about operator

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