• (RP) IPA: /ˈɒpəˌɹeɪtə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈɑpəˌɹeɪɾɚ/


  1. One who operates.
  2. A telecommunications facilitator whose job is to establish temporary network connections.
  3. (mathematics) A function or other mapping that carries variables defined on a domain into another variable or set of variables in a defined range.
  4. (uncountable) The game of Chinese whispers.
  5. (informal) A person who is adept at making deals or getting results, especially one who uses questionable methods.
    • 1990, House of Cards, Season 1, Episode 1:
      Francis Urquhart: I think Lord Billsborough is starting to lose touch a bit.
      Tim Stamper: Shame. Used to be a hell of an operator in his day.
  6. A member of a military special operations unit.
  7. (computing) The administrator of a channel or network on IRC.
  8. (computing) A symbol that represents a construct in a programming language and differs from a normal function in its syntax.
  9. (linguistics) A kind of expression that enters into an a-bar movement dependency and is said to bind a variable.
    In the sentence "What did Bill say he wants to buy?", "what" is an operator, binding a phonetically empty variable.
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