For all your dictionary needs!
Spelling. Are you looking for overate?
Header of operate


Operate is a member of the word family cooperate, included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

Video footage: 1940s - An overview of how banks operate through deposits and loans
Play/pauseBuy footageFind more

Definition of the verb operate

What does operate mean as a doing word?

Operate is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: operated | operating | operates

  1. direct or control; projects, businesses, etc.
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonym of operate: run
    • more generic word: direct = be in charge of
    • more specific terms:
      • financier = conduct financial operations
      • work = operate in or through
      • block = run on a block system
      • warm up = run until the normal working temperature is reached
  2. perform as expected when applied
  3. handle and cause to function
    • example: do not operate machinery after imbibing alcohol
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 2
    • lexical domain: Contact - verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging
    • synonym of operate: control
    • more generic word: manipulate = hold something in one's hands and move it
    • more specific words:
      • synchronise / synchronize = operate simultaneously
      • dial = operate a dial to select a telephone number
      • turn = alter the functioning or setting of
      • submarine = control a submarine
      • treadle = operate (machinery) by a treadle
      • relay = control or operate by relay
      • gate = control with a valve or other device that functions like a gate
      • pedal = operate the pedals on a keyboard instrument
      • drive = operate or control a vehicle
      • aviate / pilot / fly = operate an airplane
  4. perform a movement in military or naval tactics in order to secure an advantage in attack or defense
  5. keep engaged
    • lexical domain: Contact - verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging
    • synonyms of operate: engage / lock / mesh
    • more generic words: displace / move = cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
    • more specific words:
      • switch / throw / flip = cause to go on or to be engaged or set in operation
      • ride = keep partially engaged by slightly depressing a pedal with the foot
  6. perform surgery on

Alternative definition of the verb operate


  1. To perform a work or labour; to exert power or strength, physical or mechanical; to act.
  2. To produce an appropriate physical effect; to issue in the result designed by nature; especially (Med.), to take appropriate effect on the human system.
  3. To act or produce effect on the mind; to exert moral power or influence.
  4. [medicine] To perform some manual act upon a human body in a methodical manner, and usually with instruments, with a view to restore soundness or health, as in amputation, lithotomy, etc.
  5. To deal in stocks or any commodity with a view to speculative profits.
  6. To produce, as an effect; to cause.
  7. To put into, or to continue in, operation or activity; to work; as, to operate a machine.


  1. "Operate" is a Dance-punk song written and recorded by Peaches. The song was released as a double limited vinyl A-side with "Shake Yer Dix" to promote the release of her second studio album Fatherfucker.
  2. "Operate" is a musical single of Mike Vennant.
  3. "Operate" is a musical single of Jenefer Sian.
    • released on (5 years ago)
  4. "Operate" is a composition.
  5. "Operate" a.k.a. "Operate / Shake Yer Dix" is the 2003 single by Peaches.

Printed encyclopedias and other books with definitions for Operate

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewActive Pharmaceutical Ingredients (2016)

Development, Manufacturing, and Regulation, Second Edition by Stanley Nusim

The license to operate is the collective approval that stakeholders give to a company to locate and pursue its...

Instead, the license to operate is an unwritten contract, some call it a social contract, between the operating facility and the facility's ...

Google previewThe Northeastern Reporter (1920)

only lawful thing the commission may do is to grant the certificate, which may not arbitrarily be denied because a portion of the route over which the bus line proposes to operate is a highway outside the corporate limits of any city or village .

Google previewVermont trappers (1992)

characteristics, motivations, and attitudes by United States. Forest Service

While attention also must be given to citizens outside the trapping community, a better understanding of trappers and how they are likely to respond to changes in the way they are compelled to operate is an important consideration for future ...

Google previewReviews of National Policies for Education Reviews of National Policies for Education: Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Chile 2013 (2013)


Findings and recommendations • Using a licensing process, incorporating a probationary period, in order to establish the authority for new providers to operate is a good approach. However, once licensed the institution is not further checked ...

Google previewLocal Economic Development and the Environment (2013)

Finding Common Ground by Susan M. Opp, Jeffery L. Osgood, Jr.

Building Agreements Build—own—operate is the first type ofpartnership in which the private organization constructs and operates the facility or infrastructure without the intent ...

Google previewPatent Empowerment for Small Corporations (2001)

by M. Henry Heines

Understanding the distinction and interaction between having the right to exclude and having the freedom to operate is an important component of corporate patent strategy. OVERLAPPING PATENTS: DOMINAHNG AND COMPLEMENTARY ...

Google previewClinical Management of Binocular Vision, Heterophoric, Accommodative, and Eye Movement Disorders (2016)

by CTI Reviews

the verb operate means to perform surgery. Convergence insufficiency or Convergence Disorder is a sensory and neuromuscular anomaly of the binocular vision system, characterized by an inability of the eyes to turn towards each other, ...

Google previewThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation (2016)

by Craig E. Carroll

The social license to operate is sometimes referred to as social license or license to operate. The basic idea of licensing is that an entity requires the approval of society to exist and to pursue certain projects, ranging from individuals driving a ...

Google previewThe International Encyclopedia of Surgery (1888)

A Systematic Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Surgery by John Ashhurst

We should operate upon a pregnant woman with the greatest reserve, and sometimes refuse absolutely ; but it would be an equally grave fault to abstain systematically in all cases. The affections which are amenable to operation— more ...

Google previewA Complete Encyclopedia of Virginia Law (1922)

Being a Concise But Complete Alphabetical Presentation of the Present Common and Statute Law, Civil and Criminal of the Commonwealth Based on the Monumental Works of Dr. B. Minor, Etc.; with Forms by Samuel Need Hurst

construct, operate and maintain telegraph and telephone line; to furnish water power and eleectricity for power and lighting purposes; to contract, operate, maintain roadways, tramways and railways. (14) Mayiufaeturing To purchase, lease, ...

Google previewSocial Issues in America: An Encyclopedia (2015)

An Encyclopedia by James Ciment

commercial radio stations, a party may own, operate, or control up to 7 commercial radio stations, not more than 4 of which are in the same service (AM or FM); (C) in a radio market with between 15 and 29 (inclusive) commercial radio stations, ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Forensic Sciences (2012)

Others operate under other names such as the Center on Wrongful Convictions ( in Chicago), the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence. Although all operate independently, these projects have formed ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Operate

Click on a label to prioritize search results according to that topic:

Usage statistics about operate

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb operate:


Photos about Operate

Click on an item to view that photo:


US Military doctors operate on Iraqi soldier

Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Wertin, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ronald Martin, both of the 28th Combat Support Hospital out of Ft. Bragg, NC, and Sgt. Jose Mendez from the 8th Forward Surgical Team out of Schofield Barracks, HI, operate on an Iraqi soldier wounded in a truck bombing in Iraq's northern city of Mosul April 1st, 2007.

Photo credit: Army Medicine

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of The doctor and the assistant operate the cat on the operating table in the veterinary clinicSmall photo of CASABLANCA, MOROCCO - JANUARY 8, 2010: Gas Station operated by Akwa Group, a Morrocan company headquartered in Casablanca. Its service stations operate under the Afriquia Brand.Small photo of The doctor and the assistant operate the cat on the operating table in the veterinary clinicSmall photo of BOSTON - APRIL 16, 2017: A Swan Boat awaits passengers in Boston Common on April 16, 2017. The Swan Boats operate in the same pond in the Public Garden in which they have operated since 1877. More...

Video language resources about Operate

Click on an item to play that video:

See also the pronunciation examples of Operate!

Quotes about Operate

All I know is that I operate by going out to each of them and trying to learn the territory in which they operate. My language to each of them has to suit their brain. (Sam Mendes)
more quotes about operate...

Scrabble value of O1P3E1R1A1T1E1

The value of this 7-letter word is 9 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of OPERATE

What do you get if you rearrange the letters?

See also the blanagrams of Operate!

Share this page


Go to the usage examples of Operate to see it in context!

Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy
Keyword Tool | Romanian-English Dictionary