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OPERATIVE

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does operative mean? 

OPERATIVE (noun)
  The noun OPERATIVE has 2 senses:

1. a person secretly employed in espionage for a government
2. someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information

  Familiarity information: OPERATIVE used as a noun is rare.


OPERATIVE (adjective)
  The adjective OPERATIVE has 5 senses:

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

  Familiarity information: OPERATIVE used as an adjective is common.


 Dictionary entry details 


OPERATIVE (noun)


Sense 1operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A person secretly employed in espionage for a government

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Synonyms:

secret agent; operative; intelligence officer; intelligence agent

Hypernyms ("operative" is a kind of...):

agent (a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "operative"):

spy; undercover agent ((military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors)

NOC (an undercover agent who is given no official cover)

foot (a member of a surveillance team who works on foot or rides as a passenger)

codetalker; windtalker (a secret agent who was one of the Navajos who devised and used a code based on their native language; the code was unbroken by the Japanese during World War II)

case officer (an operative who also serves as an official staffer of an intelligence service)

bridge agent (an operative who acts as a courier or go-between from a case officer to a secret agent in a hostile area)

agent provocateur; provocateur (a secret agent who incites suspected persons to commit illegal acts)

agent-in-place (an operative serving as a penetration into an intelligence target)

walk-in (an operative who initiates his own defection (usually to a hostile country) for political asylum)


Sense 2operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Synonyms:

private detective; private eye; private investigator; shamus; sherlock; operative; PI

Hypernyms ("operative" is a kind of...):

detective (an investigator engaged or employed in obtaining information not easily available to the public)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "operative"):

hotel detective; house detective; house dick (a private detective employed by a hotel or retail store)

inquiry agent (a private detective)

store detective (a private detective employed by a merchant to stop pilferage)


OPERATIVE (adjective)


Sense 1operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Being in force or having or exerting force

Context examples:

operative regulations / the major tendencies operative in the American political system

Similar:

working (serving to permit or facilitate further work or activity)

in operation; operating; operational (being in effect or operation)

effective; good; in effect; in force (exerting force or influence)

operant (having influence or producing an effect)

Antonym:

inoperative (not operating)


Sense 2operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Of or relating to a surgical operation

Classified under:

Relational adjectives (pertainyms)

Context example:

operative surgery

Pertainym:

operation (a medical procedure involving an incision with instruments; performed to repair damage or arrest disease in a living body)


Sense 3operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine

Synonyms:

surgical; operative

Context examples:

a surgical appendix / a surgical procedure / operative dentistry

Similar:

preoperative (happening or done before and in preparation for a surgical operation)

postoperative (happening or done after a surgical operation)


Sense 4operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Effective; producing a desired effect

Synonyms:

key; operative

Context example:

the operative word

Similar:

important; significant (important in effect or meaning)


Sense 5operative [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

(of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing

Synonyms:

working; operative; functional; running

Context examples:

in running (or working) order / a functional set of brakes

Similar:

functioning (performing or able to perform its regular function)


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