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[op-uh-rey-ter] /ˈɒp əˌreɪ tər/
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.
  1. a symbol for expressing a mathematical operation.
  2. a function, especially one transforming a function, set, etc., into another:
    a differential operator.
  1. a person who accomplishes his or her purposes by devious means; faker; fraud.
  2. a person who is adroit at overcoming, avoiding, or evading difficulties, regulations, or restrictions.
  3. 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
Related forms
preoperator, noun
self-operator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for pre-operator


a person who operates a machine, instrument, etc, esp, a person who makes connections on a telephone switchboard or at an exchange
a person who owns or operates an industrial or commercial establishment
a speculator, esp one who operates on currency or stock markets
(informal) a person who manipulates affairs and other people
(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 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 pre-operator



1590s, "one who performs mechanical or surgical operations," agent noun from operate (v.) or from Late Latin operator. 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
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pre-operator in Medicine

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.
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pre-operator in Science
  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.
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Slang definitions & phrases for pre-operator


  1. A person who busily deals and manipulates, often self-importantly; dealer, wheeler-dealer (1875+)
  2. ladies' man (1950s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for pre-operator


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
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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