See more synonyms for operational on Thesaurus.com
  1. able to function or be used; functional: How soon will the new factory be operational?
  2. Military.
    1. of, relating to, or involved in military operations.
    2. on active service or combat duty: All units of the command are operational.
  3. of or relating to operations or an operation.

Origin of operational

First recorded in 1920–25; operation + -al1
Related formsop·er·a·tion·al·ly, adverbnon·op·er·a·tion·al, adjectivepre·op·er·a·tion·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for operational

Contemporary Examples of operational

Historical Examples of operational

  • "We'll have to find out where the fellow has his base," Operational Planning said.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Knowledge is reduced to information; understanding is only operational.

  • For centuries, writing was only a container for speech, not operational language.

  • The Terrier was the Navy's first operational surface to air missile.

    Trinity [Atomic Test] Site

    The National Atomic Museum

  • To be sure, we emphasize and demand brilliance as the operational goal.

    Shock and Awe

    Harlan K. Ullman

British Dictionary definitions for operational


  1. of or relating to an operation or operations
  2. in working order and ready for use
  3. military capable of, needed in, or actually involved in operations
Derived Formsoperationally, adverb
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 operational

1922, "pertaining to operation," from operation + -al (1). Meaning "in a state of functionality" is from 1944.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper