modus operandi

modus operandi

[moh-duhs op-uh-ran-dee, -dahy; Latin moh-doos oh-pe-rahn-dee]
noun, plural modi operandi [moh-dee op-uh-ran-dee, moh-dahy op-uh-ran-dahy; Latin moh-dee oh-pe-rahn-dee] .
mode of operating or working.

Origin:
1645–55; < Latin modus operandī

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World English Dictionary
modus operandi (ˈməʊdəs ˌɒpəˈrændiː, -ˈrændaɪ)
 
n , pl modi operandi
procedure; method of operating
 
[C17: from Latin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

modus operandi
"way of doing or accomplishing," 1650s, L., lit. mode of operating (see modus).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
modus operandi (m.o.) [(moh-duhs op-uh-ran-dee, op-uh-ran-deye)]

The way someone does something; a characteristic method: “Her modus operandi in buying a new car always included a month of research.” This phrase, often abbreviated “m.o.,” is used by police to describe a criminal's characteristic way of committing a crime. From Latin, meaning “method of operation.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

modus operandi

in criminology, distinct pattern or manner of working that comes to be associated with a particular criminal. Criminologists have observed that, whatever his specialty-burglary, auto theft, or embezzling-the professional criminal is very likely to adhere to his particular way of operating. If, for example, a burglar begins his career by entering houses from the roof, he will, in all probability, continue this method for as long as he is able to work. Some burglars become so attached to their modus operandi that they burglarize the same places or people again and again.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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