- a person engaged, employed, or skilled in some branch of work, especially productive or industrial work; worker.
- a detective.
- a secret agent; spy.
- operating, or exerting force, power, or influence.
- having force; being in effect or operation: laws operative in this city.
- effective or efficacious.
- engaged in, concerned with, or pertaining to work or productive activity.
- significant; key: The operative word in that sentence is “sometimes.”
- Medicine/Medical. concerned with, involving, or pertaining to surgical operations.
Origin of operative
SynonymsSee more synonyms for operative on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for operatively
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
- in force, effect, or operation
- exerting force or influence
- producing a desired effect; significantthe operative word
- of or relating to a surgical procedure
- a worker, esp one with a special skill
- US a private detective
Word Origin and History for operatively
"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).
"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.
operative(ŏp′ər-ə-tĭv, -ə-rā′tĭv, ŏp′rə-)
- Of, relating to, or resulting from a surgical operation.
- Functioning effectively; efficient.