- to work, perform, or function, as a machine does: This engine does not operate properly.
- to work or use a machine, apparatus, or the like.
- to act effectively; produce an effect; exert force or influence (often followed by on or upon): Their propaganda is beginning to operate on the minds of the people.
- to perform some process of work or treatment.
- Surgery. to perform a surgical procedure.
- (of a drug) to produce the effect intended.
- to carry on operations in war.
- to give orders and accomplish military acts, as distinguished from doing staff work.
- to carry on transactions in securities, or some commodity, especially speculatively or on a large scale.
- Informal. to use devious means for one's own gain; insinuate oneself; finagle: a man who knows how to operate with the ladies.
- to manage or use (a machine, device, etc.): to operate a switchboard.
- to put or keep (a factory, industrial system, ranch, etc.) working or in operation: to operate a coal mine.
- to bring about, effect, or produce, as by action or the exertion of force or influence.
Origin of operate
Examples from the Web for operated
AirAsia Indonesia, which operated Flight 8501, is the Indonesian subsidiary of AirAsia, which is based in Malaysia.Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501
January 6, 2015
During two years in Iranian custody, Abdolhamid provided crucial details of how Jundullah operated.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan
December 29, 2014
She operated it for 16 years before putting it in the hands of one of her mistresses.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
It would inject a threat of accountability into power, and upend the impunity wartime leaders had operated under for years.The Man Who Invented the Word ‘Genocide’
November 19, 2014
It added that it would be “operated exclusively for public and social-welfare purposes.”Mystery Man Buys Kentucky for the GOP
Center for Public Integrity
October 29, 2014
New-Haven enjoys an elephant that has corns, and is about to be operated on by a chiropodist.
Not far from his grandmother's residence there was a windmill which operated on a new plan.Biographical Stories
This man said I must be operated on by a burning process, all of which was said to frighten me to duty.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
It is operated by pressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.The Devil's Dictionary
From Hanover he removed to Pittsburgh, where he operated in provisions until 1845.Cleveland Past and Present
- to function or cause to function
- (tr) to control the functioning ofoperate a machine
- to manage, direct, run, or pursue (a business, system, etc)
- (intr) to perform a surgical operation (upon a person or animal)
- (intr) to produce a desired or intended effect
- (tr usually foll by on) to treat or process in a particular or specific way
- (intr) to conduct military or naval operations
- (intr) to deal in securities on a stock exchange
Word Origin and History for operated
c.1600, "to be in effect," back-formation from operation, or else from Latin operatus, past participle of operari "to work, labor, toil, take pains" (in Late Latin "to have effect, be active, cause"). Surgical sense is first attested 1799. Meaning "to work machinery" is from 1864 in American English. Related: Operated; operating. Operating system in the computer sense is from 1961.
- To perform surgery.