Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “the operative word”

See all translations

the operative word

the most important word in a phrase, which explains the truth of a situation: He was a painter - "was" being the operative word, since he died last week.
Translations of “the operative word”
in Chinese (Traditional) 關鍵詞, 最重要的詞…
in Chinese (Simplified) 关键词, 最重要的词…
(Definition of the operative word from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

piglet

a baby pig

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More