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[op-uh-rey-shuh n] /ˌɒp əˈreɪ ʃən/
an act or instance, process, or manner of functioning or operating.
the state of being operative (usually preceded by in or into):
a rule no longer in operation.
the power to act; efficacy, influence, or force.
the exertion of force, power, or influence; agency:
the operation of alcohol on the mind.
a process of a practical or mechanical nature in some form of work or production:
a delicate operation in watchmaking.
a course or procedure of productive or industrial activity:
building operations.
a particular process or course:
mental operations.
a business transaction, especially one of a speculative nature; deal:
a shady operation.
a business, especially one run on a large scale:
a multinational operation.
Surgery. a procedure aimed at restoring or improving the health of a patient, as by correcting a malformation, removing diseased parts, implanting new parts, etc.
  1. a mathematical process, as addition, multiplication, or differentiation.
  2. the action of applying a mathematical process to a quantity or quantities.
  1. a campaign, mission, maneuver, or action.
  2. Usually, operations. the conduct of a campaign, mission, etc.
  3. operations, a headquarters, office, or place from which a military campaign, air traffic to and from an airfield, or any of various other activities, is planned, conducted, and controlled.
  4. operations, the people who work at such a headquarters.
1350-1400; Middle English operacioun < Latin operātiōn- (stem of operātiō), equivalent to operāt(us) (see operate) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
misoperation, noun
preoperation, noun
reoperation, noun
suboperation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for operations
  • Now many midsize operations are going all out to attract visitors.
  • Oil spills from supertankers and offshore drilling operations threaten the ocean environment.
  • Commercial longline fishing operations are known to contribute to the decline of sea turtle populations.
  • The restored battleships were used almost exclusively to bombard shorelines during amphibious operations.
  • Communal taxis ply the countryside, and major car-rental agencies have operations in the larger cities.
  • Mining operations clear forest to build roads and dig mines.
  • The electricity that is generated powers a mill's own operations.
  • Far-sighted entrepreneurs already see them as critical supply depots for large-scale space operations.
  • Adobe offers the tools and resources to take your online operations to the next level.
  • Profitable business operations may hide activities that add no benefit to the bottom line.
British Dictionary definitions for operations


the act, process, or manner of operating
the state of being in effect, in action, or operative (esp in the phrases in or into operation)
a process, method, or series of acts, esp of a practical or mechanical nature
(surgery) any manipulation of the body or one of its organs or parts to repair damage, arrest the progress of a disease, remove foreign matter, etc
  1. a military or naval action, such as a campaign, manoeuvre, etc
  2. (capital and prenominal when part of a name): Operation Crossbow
  1. any procedure, such as addition, multiplication, involution, or differentiation, in which one or more numbers or quantities are operated upon according to specific rules
  2. a function from a set onto itself
a commercial or financial transaction
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 operations



late 14c., "action, performance, work," also "the performance of some science or art," from Old French operacion "operation, working, proceedings," from Latin operationem (nominative operatio) "a working, operation," from past participle stem of operari "to work, labor" (in Late Latin "to have effect, be active, cause"), from opera "work, effort," related to opus (genitive operis) "a work" (see opus). The surgical sense is first attested 1590s. Military sense of "series of movements and acts" is from 1749.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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operations in Medicine

operation op·er·a·tion (ŏp'ə-rā'shən)

  1. A surgical procedure, usually using instruments, for remedying an injury, an ailment, a defect, or a dysfunction.

  2. The act, manner, or process of functioning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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operations in Science
  1. Medicine A surgical procedure for remedying an injury, ailment, defect, or dysfunction.

  2. Mathematics A process or action, such as addition, substitution, transposition, or differentiation, performed in a specified sequence and in accordance with specific rules.

  3. A logical operation.

  4. Computer Science An action resulting from a single instruction.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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