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modus operandi

[ moh-duhs -op-uh-ran-dee, -dahy; Latin moh-doos -oh-pe-rahn-dee ]
/ ˈmoʊ dəs ˌɒp əˈræn di, -daɪ; Latin ˈmoʊ dus ˌoʊ pɛˈrɑn di /
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noun, plural mo·di op·e·ran·di [moh-dee -op-uh-ran-dee, moh-dahy -op-uh-ran-dahy; Latin moh-dee -oh-pe-rahn-dee]. /ˈmoʊ di ˌɒp əˈræn di, ˈmoʊ daɪ ˌɒp əˈræn daɪ; Latin ˈmoʊ di ˌoʊ pɛˈrɑn di/.
mode of operating or working: to investigate the modus operandi of the natural world.
one’s usual way of doing something: A criminal’s modus operandi can give the police a lead.Abbreviation: MO
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Origin of modus operandi

First recorded in 1645–55; New Latin: literally “mode of working”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use modus operandi in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for modus operandi

modus operandi
/ (ˈməʊdəs ˌɒpəˈrændiː, -ˈrændaɪ) /

noun plural modi operandi (ˈməʊdiː ˌɒpəˈrændiː, ˈməʊdaɪ ˌɒpəˈrændaɪ)
procedure; method of operating

Word Origin for modus operandi

C17: from Latin
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

Cultural definitions for modus operandi

modus operandi
[ (moh-duhs op-uh-ran-dee, op-uh-ran-deye) ]

The way someone does something; a characteristic method: “Her modus operandi in buying a new car always included a month of research.” This phrase, often abbreviated “m.o.,” is used by police to describe a criminal's characteristic way of committing a crime. From Latin, meaning “method of operation.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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