Definition of “operator” - English Dictionary

“operator” in British English

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operatornoun [ C ]

uk /ˈɒp.ər.eɪ.tər/ us /ˈɑː.pə.reɪ.t̬ɚ/

operator noun [ C ] (PERSON OR BUSINESS)

B2 someone whose job is to use and control a machine or vehicle:

a computer operator

B2 a company that does a particular type of business:

a tour operator
a smooth, clever, etc. operator

someone who is skilled at dealing with people and getting what he or she wants from a situation:

He has shown himself to be a canny operator in wage negotiations.

More examples

  • We rationalized the production system so that one operator could control all three machines.
  • The tour operator will arrange transport and plan your itinerary.
  • Radar operators plotted the course of the incoming missile.
  • At the twiddle of a knob the operators can focus on a tiny amount of airspace or scan the whole area.
  • Beach operators do not have a legal obligation to provide against injury or drowning.

operator noun [ C ] (IN MATHEMATICS)

specialized mathematics a symbol that does something to a number or quantity in a calculation. For example, in 7 + y, the symbol + is the operator


(Definition of “operator” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“operator” in American English

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operatornoun [ C ]

us /ˈɑp·əˌreɪt̬·ər/

a person who makes something work or puts something into action:

a computer/machine operator

An operator is also a person who works on a telephone switchboard:

Dial or press zero for the operator.

usually disapproving An operator is a person who is often successful but seems too intelligent or speaks and acts too quickly and may not always be honest:

He’s a smooth operator.

(Definition of “operator” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“operator” in Business English

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operatornoun [ C ]

uk /ˈɒpəreɪtər/ us

someone whose job is to use and control a machine, vehicle, or piece of equipment:

a camera/crane/forklift operator
The system lets you talk directly to a call centre operator.

a company that runs a particular type of business:

a cable/mobile-phone/hotel operator
The company is the owner and operator of several radio stations.

COMMUNICATIONS a person who connects people on a phone system:

a switchboard operator
He worked as a 911 operator with the Cincinnati Police Department.
a smooth/slick/clever operator informal

a person who deals with people or problems in a clever way, especially for their own advantage:

He has shown himself to be a clever operator in wage negotiations.

(Definition of “operator” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)