1. [ adjective ] being in force or having or exerting force

"operative regulations" "the major tendencies operative in the American political system"

Related terms: inoperative effective operational at_work working at_work
2. [ noun ] a person secretly employed in espionage for a government
Synonyms: intelligence_officer intelligence_agent secret_agent
Related terms: agent spy foot bridge_agent agent-in-place codetalker case_officer noc walk-in agent_provocateur
3. [ adjective ] (of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing
Synonyms: working functional running

"in running (or working) order" "a functional set of brakes"

Related terms: functioning
4. [ adjective ] (surgery) relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine
Synonyms: surgical

"a surgical appendix" "a surgical procedure" "operative dentistry"

Related terms: medical preoperative postoperative
5. [ adjective ] effective; producing a desired effect
Synonyms: key

"the operative word"

Related terms: significant
6. [ adjective ] (surgery) of or relating to a surgical operation

"operative surgery"

Related terms: operation
7. [ noun ] (work) someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information
Synonyms: private_eye private_detective private_investigator sherlock shamus PI
Related terms: detective store_detective inquiry_agent hotel_detective
Similar spelling:   operatively