plural of operative
as in spies
a person who tries secretly to obtain information for one country in the territory of another usually unfriendly country CIA operatives take terrible risks to find out the secrets of foreign countries

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as in detectives
a person not on the police force who investigates criminal or illicit activity or searches for missing persons set in the 1930s, the novel is about a washed-out operative working for a third-rate detective agency

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Cite this Entry

“Operatives.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/operatives. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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