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

Like its European peer Thomas Cook Group Plc, Tui’s tour operator margins have been compressed by overcapacity in the Mediterranean region and a knock-on impact from last year’s hot summer – which encouraged holidaymakers to stay at home. Washington Post, "Holiday Giant Pays a Price for Grounded 737 Max," 18 Sep. 2019 Our thoughts are with this person, our train operator (and) responding crews. Kevin Fagan, SFChronicle.com, "Huge BART delays after person dies, 24th Street station reopened," 12 Sep. 2019 Pochettino's style of play is all-encompassing and extremely demanding on its operators. SI.com, "Dele Alli: Why 2019/20 Could Be Make or Break for the Tottenham Midfielder," 11 Sep. 2019 Private and charter aircraft fly into the airport daily and a few air tour operators are based at the airport, including the area's only skydiving operation, Paragon Skydive. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "FAA probes skydiving death near Grand Canyon National Park Airport," 10 Sep. 2019 For the most part, Georgian tour operators share Kvrivishvili’s optimism. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Ryanair's Cheap Flights to Georgia Will Change Travel to the Country," 6 Sep. 2019 Tour operator Papillon offers trips from Page that soar over the lake before landing atop the butte with its 360-degree views. Jay Jones, Los Angeles Times, "Have Lake Powell all to yourself on an off-season weekend trip," 5 Sep. 2019 Are there group tour operators that accommodate solo travelers well? Susan Glaser, cleveland.com, "Calling all Readers: What tips do you have for solo travel?," 19 Aug. 2019 In India, Muslims enter a lottery, or pay as much as a third of the average annual salary to private tour operators for the experience. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Saudi Arabia’s multibillion-dollar hajj industry is getting smarter than ever," 9 Aug. 2019

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

9 Oct 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

Comments on operator

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involving a confidence or trust

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