- 1 [intransitive] + adv./prep. to work in a particular way synonym function Most domestic freezers operate at below 0 °F. Solar panels can only operate in sunlight. (figurative) Some people only operate well under pressure.
- 2[transitive] operate something to use or control a machine or make it work What skills are needed to operate this machinery? system/process/service
- 3 [intransitive, transitive] to be used or working; to use something or make it work A new late-night service is now operating. The regulation operates in favor of married couples. operate something The airline operates flights to 25 countries. The government operates a system of subsidized loans to dairy farmers. of business/organization
- 4 [intransitive] + adv./prep. to work in a particular way or from a particular place They plan to operate from a new office in St. Louis. Illegal drinking clubs continue to operate in the city. medical
- 5 [intransitive] to cut open someone's body in order to remove a part that has a disease or to repair a part that is damaged The doctors operated last night. operate (on somebody) (for something) We will have to operate on his eyes. to operate for acute appendicitis of soldiers
- 6[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to be involved in military activities in a place Troops are operating from bases in the north.
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NAmE//ˈɑpəˌreɪt//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they operate
he / she / it operates
past simple operated
-ing form operating