Definition of operative in English:


Syllabification: op·er·a·tive
Pronunciation: /ˈäp(ə)ritiv, ˈäpəˌrātiv


  • 1Functioning; having effect: the transmitter is operative the mining ban would remain operative
    More example sentences
    • They will not be operative there and in effect it is the same as being anywhere else in the country.
    • Still, the crowding-out effect is operative as the new money ‘printed’ by the government is competing for resources with old money saved by the public.
    • In 1999 and 2000, its members decided to transfer its operative functions into the EU, in order to strengthen its European Security and Defence Policy.
    in force, in operation, in effect, valid
  • 1.1 [attributive] (Of a word) having the most relevance or significance in a phrase or sentence: a young man, and the operative word is young, should go into the armed services at around seventeen
    More example sentences
    • And supposed is the operative word in that sentence, right?
    • Might is, of course, the operative word in that sentence, but who knows?
    • However the operative word in my last sentence was ‘when’!
    key, significant, relevant, applicable, pertinent, apposite, germane, crucial, critical, pivotal, central, essential
  • 2 [attributive] Of or relating to surgery: they had wounds needing operative treatment
    More example sentences
    • For some major types of surgery, operative mortality is an important measure of performance.
    • Patients found unfit on account of low PFT values for a particular type of surgery were rejected for operative procedure.
    • However, the medical therapy is generally not very effective and should be reserved for patients unwilling to undergo dilation or surgery or poor operative candidates.


Back to top  



More example sentences
  • Many very low birthweight infants 316 were delivered operatively, as a reflection of either maternal indications such as uncontrolled pre-eclampsia or fetal distress after premature labour.
  • Whether the players were treated operatively or nonoperatively, we found reduced performance in the functional tests and reduced muscle strength in the involved leg compared with the uninvolved leg.
  • The press member is operatively connected to the container body for movement of the press member between a wringing position and a non-wringing position relative to the wringing surface of the container body.




late Middle English: from late Latin operativus, from Latin operat- 'done by labor', from the verb operari (see operate).

More definitions of operative

Definition of operative in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little