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operative

[op-er-uh-tiv, op-ruh-tiv, op-uh-rey-tiv] /ˈɒp ər ə tɪv, ˈɒp rə tɪv, ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪv/
noun
1.
a person engaged, employed, or skilled in some branch of work, especially productive or industrial work; worker.
2.
a detective.
3.
a secret agent; spy.
adjective
4.
operating, or exerting force, power, or influence.
5.
having force; being in effect or operation:
laws operative in this city.
6.
effective or efficacious.
7.
engaged in, concerned with, or pertaining to work or productive activity.
8.
significant; key: The operative word in that sentence is “sometimes.”.
9.
Medicine/Medical. concerned with, involving, or pertaining to surgical operations.
Origin of operative
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Middle French operatif < Latin operāt(us) (see operate) + Middle French -if -ive
Related forms
operatively, adverb
operativeness, operativity
[op-er-uh-tiv-i-tee] /ˌɒp ər əˈtɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun
interoperative, noun, adjective
nonoperative, adjective
unoperative, adjective
Synonyms
1. workman, factory hand. 2. investigator, agent. 6. effectual, serviceable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for operatively
Historical Examples
  • In willing actively and operatively to be that which he was made in order to be, he becomes creative—so far as a man may.

    There and Back George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for operatively

operative

/ˈɒpərətɪv/
adjective
1.
in force, effect, or operation
2.
exerting force or influence
3.
producing a desired effect; significant: the operative word
4.
of or relating to a surgical procedure
noun
5.
a worker, esp one with a special skill
6.
(US) a private detective
Derived Forms
operatively, adverb
operativeness, operativity, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for operatively

operative

n.

"worker, operator," 1809, from operative (adj.); sense of "secret agent, spy" is first attested 1930, probably from its use by the Pinkerton Detective Agency as a title for their private detectives (1905).

operative

adj.

"producing the intended effect," early 15c., from Old French operatif (14c.) or directly from Late Latin operativus "creative, formative," from operat-, past participle stem of operari (see operation). Weakened sense of "significant, important" is from 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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operatively in Medicine

operative op·er·a·tive (ŏp'ər-ə-tĭv, -ə-rā'tĭv, ŏp'rə-)
adj.

  1. Of, relating to, or resulting from a surgical operation.

  2. Functioning effectively; efficient.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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