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[koh-op-er-uh-tiv, -op-ruh-tiv, -op-uh-rey-tiv] /koʊˈɒp ər ə tɪv, -ˈɒp rə tɪv, -ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪv/
working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit.
demonstrating a willingness to cooperate:
The librarian was cooperative in helping us find the book.
pertaining to economic cooperation:
a cooperative business.
involving or denoting an educational program comprising both classroom study and on-the-job or technical training, especially in colleges and universities.
a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers.
Also called co-op, cooperative apartment.
  1. a building owned and managed by a corporation in which shares are sold, entitling the shareholders to occupy individual units in the building.
  2. an apartment in such a building.
    Compare condominium (defs 1, 2).
Also, co-operative.
1595-1605; < Late Latin cooperātīvus. See cooperate, -ive
Related forms
cooperatively, co-operatively
[koh-op-er-uh-tiv-lee, -op-ruh-tiv-, -op-uh-rey-tiv-] /koʊˈɒp ər ə tɪv li, -ˈɒp rə tɪv-, -ˈɒp əˌreɪ tɪv-/ (Show IPA),
cooperativeness, co-operativeness, noun
uncooperative, adjective
uncooperatively, adverb
uncooperativeness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cooperatives
  • Rural electric cooperatives across the country are adding more wind power, but it is not always easy.
  • Weavers fall into three categories: individual weavers, master weavers, and members of cooperatives.
  • Her work has appeared in informative guides on student housing cooperatives and sustainable building alternatives.
  • Find decorative tapestry wall hangings, woven clothing, and crafts at outdoor markets and cooperatives.
  • In his later years he developed housing cooperatives for people of modest means.
  • Most cooperatives find it advantageous to carry a mortgage because of the tax benefits it provides for shareholders.
  • Some say prices for cooperatives tend to be more volatile.
  • At the same time, it has unique resources, including wind and sea and a tradition of cooperatives.
  • They formed energy cooperatives and organized seminars on wind power.
  • Some families have pooled their own money and entered into cooperatives with other families, a challenge that can take years.
British Dictionary definitions for cooperatives


/kəʊˈɒpərətɪv; -ˈɒprə-/
willing to cooperate; helpful
acting in conjunction with others; cooperating
  1. (of an enterprise, farm, etc) owned collectively and managed for joint economic benefit
  2. (of an economy or economic activity) based on collective ownership and cooperative use of the means of production and distribution
a cooperative organization
(US) Also called cooperative apartment. a block of flats belonging to a corporation in which shares are owned in proportion to the relative value of the flat occupied Sometimes shortened to coop Compare condominium (sense 3)
Derived Forms
cooperatively, co-operatively, adverb
cooperativeness, co-operativeness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cooperatives



also co-operative, c.1600, from Late Latin cooperat-, past participle stem of cooperari (see cooperation) + -ive. Political economy sense is from 1808, from the pre-Marx communist movement. The noun meaning "a cooperative store" is from 1883; meaning "a cooperative society" is from 1921.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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