the operative word definition, meaning - what is the operative word in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “the operative word”

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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)
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