For all your dictionary needs!
Spelling. Are you looking for aperitive, Imperative, iterative, opera iv, Operatives, or overactive?
Header of operative


The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun operative:


Operative 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: Excision of papilloma using diathermy.Operative Surgery.
Play/pauseBuy footageFind more

Definition of the noun operative

What does operative mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: operatives

  1. a person secretly employed in espionage for a government
    • lexical domain: People - nouns denoting people
    • synonyms of operative: intelligence agent / intelligence officer / secret agent
    • more generic word: agent = a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations
    • more specific terms:
      • agent-in-place = an operative serving as a penetration into an intelligence target
      • agent provocateur / provocateur = a secret agent who incites suspected persons to commit illegal acts
      • bridge agent = an operative who acts as a courier or go-between from a case officer to a secret agent in a hostile area
      • case officer = an operative who also serves as an official staffer of an intelligence service
      • codetalker / windtalker = a secret agent who was one of the Navajos who devised and used a code based on their native language
      • foot = a member of a surveillance team who works on foot or rides as a passenger
      • NOC = an undercover agent who is given no official cover
      • undercover agent / spy = a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors
      • walk-in = an operative who initiates his own defection (usually to a hostile country) for political asylum
  2. someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information

Alternative definition of the noun operative


  1. An employee or other worker with some particular function or skill.
  2. A spy, secret agent, or detective.

Definition of the adjective operative

What does operative mean as an attribute of a noun?


  1. being in force or having or exerting force
  2. relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine
  3. effective; producing a desired effect
  4. (of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing

Alternative definition of the adjective operative


  1. Effectual or important.
  2. Functional, in working order.


  1. "Operative" a.k.a. "The Operative" is a film, directed by Robert Lee.
  2. "Operative" is a film, directed by Loren Herbert.


  1. Operative is a fictional character from the 1978 film Battlestar Galactica.
  2. Operative is a fictional character from the 2001 film Mimic 2.
  3. Operative is a fictional character from the 2006 film The Celestine Prophecy.

Phrases with Operative

  1. operative field
  2. co-operative republic of guyana
  3. Post-Operative

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Operative

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

Google previewEncyclopedia of Matrimonial Clauses (2015)

by Raoul Lionel Felder

If the Husband and Wife shall marry and subsequently there shall occur an operative event, as herein defined, then except as herein provided, each party waives, releases, relinquishes and forever renounces any and all right to support, ...

Google previewMellinkoff's Dictionary of American Legal Usage (2009)

by David Mellinkoff

It is the principal operative word of the prohibitory or preventive injunction: an injunction (D888) that stops or prevents something from being done. <The defendants are enjoined from erecting a fence more than five feet high on the perimeter of ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of International Sports Studies: A-E (2006)

by Roger Bartlett, Chris Gratton, Christer Rolf

Despite the fact that there are many studies on the natural history of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, there are no prospective randomized studies that compare the best non- operative treatment with the best operative treatment.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Operative

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

Photos about Operative

Click on an item to view that photo:


Highway Sanitation Operative

A street cleaner at London's Piccadilly Circus.

Photo credit: garryknight

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of post operative wound after appendectomy ,stitchesSmall photo of Heathrow Airport, London, England - January 2018: Airline operative wearing a high visibility jacketSmall photo of Close up surgical equipment or sponge forcep in metallic tray at operative roomSmall photo of Scar after surgical treatment of stomach's disease. Stitched up wound removal surgery. Incision, postoperative suture. Operative scars in stomach.Small photo of Post operative bandaged foot in protective sandal next to crutch taking a step recovering from ankle surgerySmall photo of Ileus showed in Abdominal Xray. Note the dilated small bowel in post operative patient secondary to Hypokalemia.Small photo of Ileus showed in Abdominal Xray. Note the dilated small bowel in post operative patient secondary to Hypokalemia. More...

Video language resources about Operative

Click on an item to play that video:

See also the pronunciation examples of Operative!

Quotes about Operative

The two things I was positive about in life were that I was going to be a teacher at a boarding school or an operative with the CIA posted abroad. I could write a book about all the things I was sure about. (Tucker Carlson)
more quotes about operative...

Scrabble value of O1P3E1R1A1T1I1V4E1

The value of this 9-letter word is 14 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Couldn't select: Got error 28 from storage engine