operating; producing effects.
a person or thing that operates.

1595–1605; < Late Latin operant- (stem of operāns, present participle of operārī; see operate); see -ant

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World English Dictionary
operant (ˈɒpərənt)
1.  producing effects; operating
2.  a person or thing that operates
3.  psychol any response by an organism that is not directly caused by a stimulus

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Word Origin & History

c.1600, "that works," from L. operantem (nom. operans), prp. of operari "to work" (see operation). Psychological sense of "involving behavior modification" coined 1937 by U.S. psychologist B.F. Skinner (e.g. operant conditioning, 1938, Skinner).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

operant op·er·ant (ŏp'ər-ənt)

  1. Operating to produce effects; effective.

  2. Of, relating to, or being a response that occurs spontaneously and is identified by its reinforcing or inhibiting effects.

In operant conditioning, a behavior or specific response chosen by the experimenter or therapist. Also called target response.
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Example sentences
Behavioral husbandry and operant conditioning allows us to keep the animals mentally exercised as well.
We were more interested in operant conditioning way back then.
Especially the feedback mechanisms operant during the ice ages which get initiated by subtle changes in our orbit.
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