Definitions for operativeˈɒp ər ə tɪv, ˈɒp rə tɪv, ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪv

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word operative

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

op•er•a•tiveˈɒp ər ə tɪv, ˈɒp rə tɪv, ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪv(n.)

  1. a person engaged or skilled in some branch of work, esp. productive or industrial work; worker.

  2. Ref: detective

  3. a secret agent; spy.

  4. a clever manipulator; operator.

    Category: Government

  5. (adj.)operating, or exerting force or influence.

  6. being in effect or operation.

  7. effective or efficacious.

  8. significant; key.

    Category: Common Vocabulary

  9. concerned with, involving, or pertaining to surgical operations.

    Category: Medicine, Surgery

Origin of operative:

1590–1600; < MF operatif


Princeton's WordNet

  1. secret agent, intelligence officer, intelligence agent, operative(noun)

    a person secretly employed in espionage for a government

  2. private detective, PI, private eye, private investigator, operative, shamus, sherlock(adj)

    someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information

  3. operative(adj)

    being in force or having or exerting force

    "operative regulations"; "the major tendencies operative in the American political system"

  4. surgical, operative(adj)

    relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine

    "a surgical appendix"; "a surgical procedure"; "operative dentistry"

  5. operative(adj)

    effective; producing a desired effect

    "the operative word"

  6. running(a), operative, functional, working(a)(adj)

    (of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing

    "in running (or working) order"; "a functional set of brakes"


  1. operative(Noun)

    An employee or other worker with some particular function or skill.

  2. operative(Noun)

    A spy, secret agent, or detective.

  3. operative(Noun)

    A participant of an operation.

  4. operative(Adjective)

    Effectual or important.

    He's usually in a good mood u2014 the operative word there being "usually". Today was a disaster.

  5. operative(Adjective)

    Functional, in working order.

Translations for operative

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


in action, having effect

Many old laws are still operative.

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