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modus operandi

[moh-duh s op-uh-ran-dee, -dahy; Latin moh-doos oh-pe-rahn-dee] /ˈmoʊ dəs ˌɒp əˈræn di, -daɪ; Latin ˈmoʊ dus ˌoʊ pɛˈrɑn di/
noun, plural modi operandi
[moh-dee op-uh-ran-dee, moh-dahy op-uh-ran-dahy; Latin moh-dee oh-pe-rahn-dee] /ˈmoʊ di ˌɒp əˈræn di, ˈmoʊ daɪ ˌɒp əˈræn daɪ; Latin ˈmoʊ di ˌoʊ pɛˈrɑn di/ (Show IPA)
1.
mode of operating or working.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; < Latin modus operandī
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for modus operandi

modus operandi

/ˈməʊdəs ˌɒpəˈrændiː; -ˈrændaɪ/
noun (pl) modi operandi (ˈməʊdiː ˌɒpəˈrændiː, ˈməʊdaɪ ˌɒpəˈrændaɪ)
1.
procedure; method of operating
Word Origin
C17: from Latin
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 modus operandi
n.

"way of doing or accomplishing," 1650s, Latin, literally "mode of operating" (see modus). Abbreviation m.o. is attested from 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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modus operandi in Culture
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 Article for 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.

Learn more about modus operandi with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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