Definition of operative adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɒpərətɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɑːpərətɪv//
    , NAmE//ˈɑːpəreɪtɪv//
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  1. 1[not usually before noun] ready to be used; in use synonym functional This law becomes operative immediately. The station will be fully operative again in January. an agreement/an accord/a proposal/a tax/a rule/an amendment/an act becomes operative
  2. 2[only before noun] (medical) connected with a medical operation operative treatment see also post-operative
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: from late Latin operativus, from Latin operat- ‘done by labour’, from the verb operari, from opus, oper- ‘work’.Idioms used to emphasize that a particular word or phrase is the most important one in a sentence I was in love with her—‘was’ being the operative word.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: operative