General Science

  • verb to control the working of something


  • verb to use or manage


  • verb to do business, or to run a business or a machine



  • verb to work or to make a machine work


  • verb to treat a person for a condition by cutting open the body and removing a part which is diseased or repairing a part which is not functioning correctly


  • verb to carry out military activity
  • verb to work the controls of an apparatus or device

Origin & History of “operate”

Operate belongs to a small family of English words that trace their history back to Latin opus ‘work’, which may be related to Sanskrit ápas ‘work’, Old English afol ‘power’, and Latin ops ‘wealth’ (source of English copious, copy, and opulent (17th c.)). Its most direct English descendant is of course opus (18th c.) itself, which was originally adopted in the phrase magnum opus ‘great work’. Opera (17th c.) goes back to the Latin plural, which came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun meaning ‘that which is produced by work’. Italian gave it its musical sense, and passed it on to English. Operate itself came from the past-participial stem of the derived Latin verb operārī ‘work’. It was originally used in English for ‘produce an effect’, and the transitive sense, as in ‘operate a machine’, did not emerge until as recently as the mid-19th century, in American English. The surgical sense is first recorded in the derivative operation (16th c.) at the end of the 16th century. other English descendants of opus include cooperate (17th c.) and manoeuvre.