WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
op•er•ate /ˈɑpəˌreɪt/USA pronunciation   v.,  -at•ed, -at•ing. 
  1. to work;
    function:[no object]This coffee machine is not operating properly.
  2. to manage or use:[+ object]could operate farm machinery.
  3. to carry on business:[no object]The company operates in southern California.
  4. to put or keep in operation:[+ object]operated a factory in the midwest.
  5. Surgeryto perform a medical procedure in which the body is cut open and a part is removed or adjusted: [no object]The surgeon is ready to operate.[+ on + object]The surgeon operated on several patients.
  6. Informal Termsto put oneself into a position of favor, advantage, etc., in a cunning way:[no object]really knows how to operate in the halls of government.
See -oper-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
op•er•ate  (opə rāt′),USA pronunciation v.,  -at•ed, -at•ing. 
  1. to work, perform, or function, as a machine does:This engine does not operate properly.
  2. to work or use a machine, apparatus, or the like.
  3. to act effectively;
    produce an effect;
    exert force or influence (often fol. by on or upon):Their propaganda is beginning to operate on the minds of the people.
  4. to perform some process of work or treatment.
  5. Surgeryto perform a surgical procedure.
  6. Drugs(of a drug) to produce the effect intended.
  7. Military
    • to carry on operations in war.
    • Militaryto give orders and accomplish military acts, as distinguished from doing staff work.
  8. to carry on transactions in securities, or some commodity, esp. speculatively or on a large scale.
  9. Informal Termsto use devious means for one's own gain;
    insinuate oneself;
    finagle:a man who knows how to operate with the ladies.

  1. to manage or use (a machine, device, etc.):to operate a switchboard.
  2. to put or keep (a factory, industrial system, ranch, etc.) working or in operation:to operate a coal mine.
  3. to bring about, effect, or produce, as by action or the exertion of force or influence.
oper•at′a•ble, adj. 
  • Late Latin operātus, past participle of operārī, -āre to work, be efficacious, effect, produce, Latin: to busy oneself, verb, verbal derivative of opera effort, work, akin to opus work; see -ate1
  • 1600–10

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

operate /ˈɒpəˌreɪt/ vb
  1. to function or cause to function
  2. (transitive) to control the functioning of
  3. to manage, direct, run, or pursue (a business, system, etc)
  4. (intransitive) to perform a surgical operation (upon a person or animal)
  5. (intransitive) to produce a desired or intended effect
  6. (transitive) usually followed by on: to treat or process in a particular or specific way
  7. (intransitive) to conduct military or naval operations
  8. (intransitive) to deal in securities on a stock exchange
Etymology: 17th Century: from Latin operāri to work

'operate' also found in these entries:

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