American English

Definition of operate verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they operate
    he / she / it operates
    past simple operated
    -ing form operating
    jump to other results
  1. 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. 2[transitive] operate something to use or control a machine or make it work What skills are needed to operate this machinery?
  3. system/process/service
  4. 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.
  5. of business/organization
  6. 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.
  7. medical
  8. 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
  9. of soldiers
  10. 6[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to be involved in military activities in a place Troops are operating from bases in the north.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: operate