[ op-uh-rey-ting ]
/ ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪŋ /


used or engaged in performing operations: an operating surgeon.
of, for, or pertaining to operations: an operating budget.
of or relating to the proper operation of a machine, appliance, etc.: a manual of operating instructions.
Railroads. of, pertaining, or belonging to railroad workers, as engineers or firemen, who are directly engaged in the mechanical operation of trains: an operating union.

Origin of operating

First recorded in 1800–10; operate + -ing1
Related formsnon·op·er·at·ing, adjectiveun·op·er·at·ing, adjective

Definition for operating (2 of 2)


[ op-uh-reyt ]
/ ˈɒp əˌreɪt /

verb (used without object), op·er·at·ed, op·er·at·ing.

verb (used with object), op·er·at·ed, op·er·at·ing.

Origin of operate

1600–10; < Late Latin operātus, past participle of operārī, -āre to work, be efficacious, effect, produce, Latin: to busy oneself, verbal derivative of opera effort, work, akin to opus work; see -ate1
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for operating

British Dictionary definitions for operating


/ (ˈɒpəˌreɪt) /


Word Origin for operate

C17: from Latin operāri to work
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

Word Origin and History for operating



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for operating


[ ŏpə-rāt′ ]


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