operate op‧e‧rate [ˈɒpəreɪt ǁ ˈɑː-] verb
1. [transitive] to use and control a machine or equipment:

• the software necessary to operate the machine

2. [intransitive] MANUFACTURING if a machine, factory etc operates in a particular way, it works in that way:
operate in/​at

• The factory will operate at half capacity for about two months.

3. [intransitive] if a business, system etc operates in a particular way, it works in that way:

• differences between the way the two countries' economies operate

operate as

• The company will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary.

4. [intransitive] if a business, system etc operates in or from a particular place, it is based there or offers goods or services from there:
operate in/​from/​out of

• a discount chain operating in the Mid-Atlantic region

• a new airline operating out of St Petersburg

5. [transitive] COMMERCE if a person or organization operates a business, system etc, they manage it and make it work:

• He operates a trucking business in Norway.

• the costs of operating the plant

* * *

operate UK US /ˈɒpəreɪt/ verb
[T] to use or control equipment or a machine or to make something work: »

Older people are returning to classrooms for instruction in everything from operating a mouse to mastering spreadsheets.

[I] if a business, system, etc. operates in a particular way, it works or is used in that way: »

Changes are being introduced to make the department operate more profitably.


Exchange rates are currently operating to the advantage of exporters.

operate as sth »

The company operates as an international delivery service for produce trading companies.

operate through sb/sth »

Centralized lenders operate through mortgage brokers and insurance companies.

operate at sth »

The plant is operating at barely 30% of capacity.

[I] to do business in or from a particular place: operate across/in/from sth »

We operate in 50 countries around the world.


We have representatives operating in most countries.

operate out of sth »

The organization operates out of a small office in the centre of town.

[T] to manage a business, service, etc. and make it work: »

The company operated 156 fewer stores this year.


We began operating a pilot service earlier this year.


Does the company operate a pension plan?

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Operate — Single by Peaches from the album Fatherfucker Released …   Wikipedia

  • Operate — Op er*ate, v. t. 1. To produce, as an effect; to cause. [1913 Webster] The same cause would operate a diminution of the value of stock. A. Hamilton. [1913 Webster] 2. To put into, or to continue in, operation or activity; to work; as, to operate… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • operate — I verb accomplish, achieve, act, act upon, administer, administrate, assume responsibility, attain, bring about, caretake, carry into execution, carry on, carry out, cause, command, conduct, control, deal with, direct, discharge, do, drive,… …   Law dictionary

  • operate — [v1] perform, function accomplish, achieve, act, act on, advance, behave, be in action, bend, benefit, bring about, burn, carry on, click*, compel, complete, concern, conduct, contact, contrive, convey, cook*, determine, direct, do, enforce,… …   New thesaurus

  • Operate — Op er*ate, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Operated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Operating}.] [L. operatus, p. p. of operari to work, fr. opus, operis, work, labor; akin to Skr. apas, and also to G. [ u]ben to exercise, OHG. uoben, Icel. [ae]fa. Cf. {Inure},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • operate — (v.) c.1600, to be in effect, from L. operari to work, labor (in L.L. to have effect, be active, cause ); see OPERATION (Cf. operation). Surgical sense is first attested 1799. Meaning to work machinery is from 1864 in Amer.Eng. Related: Operated; …   Etymology dictionary

  • operate — *act, behave, work, function, react …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • operate — has derivative forms operable (‘able to be operated on’, especially in medical contexts) and operator …   Modern English usage

  • operate — ► VERB 1) (of a machine, process, etc.) be in action; function. 2) control the functioning of (a machine or process). 3) (with reference to an organization) manage or be managed. 4) (of an armed force) conduct military activities. 5) be in effect …   English terms dictionary

  • operate — [äp′ər āt΄] vi. operated, operating [< L operatus, pp. of operari, to work < opus (gen. operis): see OPUS] 1. to be in action so as to produce an effect; act; function; work 2. to bring about a desired or appropriate effect; have a certain… …   English World dictionary

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