a person who operates a machine, apparatus, or the like: a telegraph operator.
a person who operates a telephone switchboard, especially for a telephone company.
a person who manages a working or industrial establishment, enterprise, or system: the operators of a mine.
a person who trades in securities, especially speculatively or on a large scale.
a person who performs a surgical operation; a surgeon.
a symbol for expressing a mathematical operation.
a function, especially one transforming a function, set, etc., into another: a differential operator.
a person who accomplishes his or her purposes by devious means; faker; fraud.
a person who is adroit at overcoming, avoiding, or evading difficulties, regulations, or restrictions.
a person who is extremely successful with or smoothly persuasive to members of the opposite sex.
Genetics. a segment of DNA that interacts with a regulatory molecule, preventing transcription of the adjacent region.

1590–1600; < Late Latin, equivalent to operā() to work, effect (see operate) + Latin -tor -tor

preoperator, noun
self-operator, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To operator
World English Dictionary
operator (ˈɒpəˌreɪtə)
1.  a person who operates a machine, instrument, etc, esp, a person who makes connections on a telephone switchboard or at an exchange
2.  a person who owns or operates an industrial or commercial establishment
3.  a speculator, esp one who operates on currency or stock markets
4.  informal a person who manipulates affairs and other people
5.  maths any symbol, term, letter, etc, used to indicate or express a specific operation or process, such as Δ (the differential operator)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1590s, "one who performs mechanical or surgical operations," agent noun from operate (q.v.). Meaning "one who carries on business shrewdly" is from 1828. Specific sense of "one who works a telephone switchboard" (1884) grew out of earlier meaning "one who works a telegraph" (1847).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

operator op·er·a·tor (ŏp'ə-rā'tər)
An operator gene.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
operator   (ŏp'ə-rā'tər)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. Mathematics A function, especially one from a set to itself, such as differentiation of a differentiable function or rotation of a vector. In quantum mechanics, measurable quantities of a physical system, such as position and momentum, are related to unique operators applied to the wave equation describing the system.

  2. A logical operator.

  3. Genetics A segment of chromosomal DNA that regulates the activity of the structural genes of an operon by interacting with a specific repressor.

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

operator definition

A symbol used as a function, with infix syntax if it has two arguments (e.g. "+") or prefix syntax if it has only one (e.g. Boolean NOT). Many languages use operators for built-in functions such as arithmetic and logic.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


in mathematics, any symbol that indicates an operation to be performed. Examples are x (which indicates the square root is to be taken) and ddx (which indicates differentiation with respect to x is to be performed). An operator may be regarded as a function, transformation, or map, in the sense that it associates or "maps" elements from one set to elements from another set. See also automorphism.

Learn more about operator with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Instead, he is a political operator who has made a fortune in property.
And her research shows that the more utilitarian a robot looks, the more likely
  its operator is to self-extend into the machine.
The operator on the left side of the real formula is a multiplication symbol,
  not a division line.
Therefore being valued as faculty may also include who can be the biggest
  operator con-artist in the nanny-state.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature