What does operate mean?

Definitions for operate
ˈɒp əˌreɪtop·er·ate

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word operate.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. operate, runverb

    direct or control; projects, businesses, etc.

    "She is running a relief operation in the Sudan"

  2. function, work, operate, go, runverb

    perform as expected when applied

    "The washing machine won't go unless it's plugged in"; "Does this old car still run well?"; "This old radio doesn't work anymore"

  3. operate, controlverb

    handle and cause to function

    "do not operate machinery after imbibing alcohol"; "control the lever"

  4. manoeuver, maneuver, manoeuvre, operateverb

    perform a movement in military or naval tactics in order to secure an advantage in attack or defense

  5. operateverb


    "What is going on in the minds of the people?"

  6. engage, mesh, lock, operateverb

    keep engaged

    "engaged the gears"

  7. operate on, operateverb

    perform surgery on

    "The doctors operated on the patient but failed to save his life"


  1. operateverb

    To perform a work or labour; to exert power or strength, physical or mechanical; to act.

  2. operateverb

    To produce an appropriate physical effect; to issue in the result designed by nature; especially (Med.), to take appropriate effect on the human system.

  3. operateverb

    To act or produce effect on the mind; to exert moral power or influence.

  4. operateverb

    To perform some manual act upon a human body in a methodical manner, and usually with instruments, with a view to restore soundness or health, as in amputation, lithotomy, etc.

  5. operateverb

    To deal in stocks or any commodity with a view to speculative profits.

  6. operateverb

    To produce, as an effect; to cause.

  7. operateverb

    To put into, or to continue in, operation or activity; to work; as, to operate a machine.

  8. Etymology: From operatus, past participle of operari, from opus, operis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To OPERATEverb

    To act; to have agency; to produce effects.

    Etymology: operor, Latin; operer, French.

    The virtues of private persons operate but on a few; their sphere of action is narrow, and their influence is confined to it. Francis Atterbury, Sermons.

    Bodies produce ideas in us, manifestly by impulse, the only way which we can conceive bodies operate in. John Locke.

    It can operate on the guts and stomach, and thereby produce distinct ideas. John Locke.

    A plain convincing reason operates on the mind, both of a learned and ignorant hearer as long as they live. Jonathan Swift.

    Where causes operate freely, with a liberty of indifference to this or the contrary, the effect will be contingent, and the certain knowledge of it belongs only to God. Isaac Watts.


  1. Operate

    Operate is a song written and recorded by Peaches. The song was released as a double limited vinyl A-side with "Shake Yer Dix" to promote the release of her second studio album Fatherfucker.


  1. operate

    To operate typically means to control or manage the functioning of a machine, system, or process. It can also mean to manipulate or perform a specific action, often in a skillful manner. Additionally, it can refer to conducting or carrying out a procedure, typically in a professional or calculated manner, such as a surgeon operates on a patient.


  1. Operate

    "Operate" is a Dance-punk song written and recorded by Peaches. The song was released as a double limited vinyl A-side with "Shake Yer Dix" to promote the release of her second studio album Fatherfucker.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Operate

    op′ėr-āt, v.i. to work: to exert strength: to produce any effect: to exert moral power: (med.) to take effect upon the human system: (surg.) to perform some unusual act upon the body with the hand or an instrument.—v.t. to effect: to produce by agency.—n. Operam′eter, an instrument for indicating the number of movements made by a part of a machine.—adj. Op′erant, operative.—n. an operator.—n. Operā′tion, art or process of operating, or of being at work: that which is done or carried out: agency: influence: method of working: action or movements: surgical performance.—adj. Op′erātive, having the power of operating or acting: exerting force: producing effects: efficacious.—n. a workman in a manufactory: a labourer.—adv. Op′erātively.—ns. Op′erātiveness; Op′erātor, one who, or that which, operates or produces an effect: (math.) a letter, &c., signifying an operation to be performed. [L. operāri, -ātusopera, work, closely conn. with opus, operis, work.]

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'operate' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2552

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'operate' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3144

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'operate' in Verbs Frequency: #225

How to pronounce operate?

How to say operate in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of operate in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of operate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of operate in a Sentence

  1. Bill Clinton:

    Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way the systems operate.

  2. Ben Domenechouted:

    The CCP is actively engaged in an effort to undermine our American way of life, … But China is doing this with the active cooperation of our fellow Americans. Their partners in this project aren't just malevolent spies manipulating doofus California congressmen. It's none other than our own cultural, business and academic elites who[m] they have bought and paid for a thousand times over. Our elites now operate hand-in-glove with the Communist Party of China, doing its bidding even when it harms the freedoms and rights that are the birthright of every American.

  3. Erik Snell:

    Our meteorology team is the best in the business, they took a hard look at the weather data and the track of the storm and worked with the flight crew and dispatcher to agree it was safe to operate the flight. And our flight and ground crews were incredible in their effort to turn the aircraft quickly and safely so the flight could depart well before the hurricane threat.

  4. The FAA:

    The Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border, as with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area.

  5. Jiang Dehua:

    We could not just pull the screwdriver out – that could have caused unforeseen complications – so we eventually convinced the parents to let us operate.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for operate

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • شغلArabic
  • operieren, betreibenGerman
  • trabajar, influir, especular, obrar, controlar, operar, manipularSpanish
  • tehota, vaikuttaa, suorittaa, aiheuttaa, toimia, tehdä, leikata, käyttää, operoidaFinnish
  • opérerFrench
  • üzemel, működikHungarian
  • operare, attivareItalian
  • 操作, 運営するJapanese
  • 경영하다Korean
  • poka, tapahiMāori
  • aandrijven, opererenDutch
  • operarPortuguese
  • вызывать, действовать, работать, оказывать влияние, управлять, оперировать, спекулировать, влиять, эксплуатироватьRussian
  • opereraSwedish
  • працюватиUkrainian
  • vận hànhVietnamese
  • 操作Chinese

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"operate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/operate>.

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