Definition of operator in English:



  • 1[often with modifier] A person who operates equipment or a machine.

    ‘a radio operator’
    • ‘She explains they are grateful her husband is working but they hope he will eventually be able to return to his career as a heavy equipment operator.’
    • ‘The program he took is dual-purpose: to train construction equipment operators and technicians.’
    • ‘There are cooks, office staff, engineers, equipment operators, mechanics, welders, bosses, planners and many more jobs available at a mine.’
    • ‘Initially a driver and radio operator, he became a paratrooper and later served in Palestine.’
    • ‘The Inuit working there were mainly already trained heavy equipment operators and labourers, so I can't say that the mine left a legacy of trained workers.’
    • ‘Pilot and copilot, flight engineer and radio operator sit in the forward upper portion.’
    • ‘He went on to get his GED and is now a heavy equipment operator.’
    • ‘This includes a radio operator, light and heavy machine gun operators, and at least a lieutenant or two who bark out orders for the platoon to follow.’
    • ‘Another poignant shot captures the delight of machine operator Fritz Hummel after hearing by radio of the birth of his first son.’
    • ‘In such cases, the disease can be very dangerous for machine operators and drivers.’
    • ‘In this case there were many executives called as witnesses but persons such as equipment operators and mechanics with direct knowledge of the facts were not called.’
    • ‘Other than equipment operators, most unions actually face competition.’
    • ‘Takoonagak, a heavy equipment operator who was one of two workers picked randomly from several eligible candidates, said he managed to win by following a few simple rules.’
    • ‘So Griffin works as a machine operator at civil engineering company Westmode in Swindon.’
    • ‘The police immediately obtained the relevant closed circuit television films of the users from the machine operators.’
    • ‘Trenches are especially hazardous for workers because the lines of sight with equipment operators are obscured.’
    • ‘Bernie, 38, works as a machine operator, printer, for Corenso UK and Andrew, 41, is a maintenance engineer for Tescos.’
    • ‘The 20-year old recounts the all-too familiar story of a friend of his who moved west to become a heavy equipment operator.’
    • ‘Machinery operators need to be vigilant and take their time when operating machinery.’
    • ‘He was a radio telephone operator, grenadier and machine gun operator.’
    machinist, mechanic, operative, engineer, driver, worker
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who works at the switchboard of a telephone exchange.
      ‘calls are made through the operator’
      • ‘The journey from the old days of the switchboard operator has certainly been a remarkable one.’
      • ‘Lonesome tells the story of a punch-press operator named Jim and a telephone switchboard operator named Mary who are desperately lonely, and then meet by chance during a holiday at Coney Island.’
      • ‘This year marks the end of an era in York as telephone exchange operators prepare to answer their last calls.’
      • ‘Shortly after, when her telephone call for help is ignored by a gossiping switchboard operator, she meets her own end, on the blade of a bayonet.’
      • ‘He began to write while earning his living as a translator, caretaker, switchboard operator, editor, and cook on an oil tanker.’
      • ‘Suki started work at 16 as a post girl before becoming a switchboard operator and moving into the mobile phone market, and then moved on to broking deals which led to her doing her own thing and founding CCL.’
      • ‘The protective services department and the telephone switchboard operators also were notified.’
      • ‘There are others who get their jollies by insulting switchboard operators, receptionists and secretaries.’
      • ‘Allegedly due to the arrogance and impatience of the male operators, telephone exchanges initially got lousy ratings for customer service.’
      • ‘She began to study singing relatively late, at the age of 25, having been a telephone switchboard operator.’
      • ‘The theatre's switchboard operator re-routed his call.’
      • ‘Colonel Dumoulin compares them to highly trained switchboard operators.’
      • ‘I tried to phone you about 10 minutes ago to be told by your switchboard operator that there is no-one there by that name.’
      • ‘When she met the Respondent in 1982, she was working as a switchboard operator, a job she began sometime in 1979-1980.’
      • ‘She runs seminars for IT and communications companies, working with staff who use the telephone a lot, such as switchboard operators, customer services teams and senior managers.’
      • ‘Come on, there used to be ticket takers at the ferries, actual bank tellers for withdrawing money and a switchboard operator to assist you with making telephone calls.’
      • ‘They served as clerks and couriers, telephone and telegraph operators, code and cipher analysts, and spies behind enemy lines in Europe.’
      • ‘What became of the traditional switchboard operator?’
      • ‘There used to be a lot of more telephone switchboard operators around also, but technology made that job obsolete.’
      • ‘He is also accused of telling a police switchboard operator, who'd recently been diagnosed with cancer, that he hoped she caught the disease.’
  • 2[usually with modifier] A person or company that runs a business.

    ‘a tour operator’
    • ‘It plans to bring together haulage operators, farmers, businessmen and residents in an effort to reach a compromise.’
    • ‘At most ports, which act as landlords to private sector operators, the cost will trickle down to private companies.’
    • ‘Since then the relationship between the private air service operators and the multi-national have improved, contributing to the latter's success.’
    • ‘During 1995-7 all passenger services were franchised to private sector operators, while all other companies were sold outright to the private sector.’
    • ‘A new class of businesses - tech kiosk operators - is emerging to provide computing as a service.’
    • ‘Like other cable players, it's losing market share to satellite operators, who are adding 2 million subscribers a year at cable's expense.’
    • ‘Lastminute chairman Allan Leighton said the company, in common with other travel operators, had been affected by a growing tendency for consumers to book their holidays later than usual.’
    • ‘The establishment of SBCGT has been therefore a response to the demand for credit and finance facilities by small business operators.’
    • ‘Obviously such a situation would have translated into losses to the fishing industry as well as to other business operators.’
    • ‘Under such a concession, the private sector operator takes over responsibility to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the asset, such as a motorway.’
    • ‘He says there is a social aspect to the credit union movement, which consumers tired of greedy financial service industry operators find refreshing.’
    • ‘In practice, it means that staff of airlines, ferry operators and railway companies must pay the cost to the employer of providing the benefit.’
    • ‘Identifying and prosecuting the culprits has proven difficult because most real estate operators run independent, local businesses.’
    • ‘The operative mode of the marketing system allows farmers to deposit their produce with a warehouse operator certified by the agency and is issued with the EWR.’
    • ‘Only a few partnership operators from that era remain in business.’
    • ‘As an alternative, the report proposes that Dublin Bus could outsource 369 contracts to private sector operators by 2006.’
    • ‘Some taxi operators and small businesses were reported to be giving back change in both euros and escudos, against government recommendations.’
    • ‘Officials in the Department of Public Enterprise believe the first private bus operators will be providing services in Dublin by this time next year.’
    • ‘The premier approved a controversial plan by transport secretary Stephen Byers to take Railtrack, the privatised national rail operator, into administration.’
    • ‘Car dealerships, discount food operators and retail showrooms have all targeted properties with good access and visibility from major roads.’
    contractor, entrepreneur, promoter, impresario, arranger, fixer, trader, dealer, director, manager, partner, businessman, businesswoman, financier, venture capitalist, speculator
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  • 3informal [with adjective] A person who acts in a shrewd or manipulative way.

    ‘her reputation as a cool, clever operator’
    • ‘And this, the tenth top-flight encounter between the two local sides, is set to be an interesting tactical battle with both men shrewd operators.’
    • ‘However, one gets the feeling that the Prime Minister relishes the challenge of meeting shrewd operators like Richard and Judy.’
    • ‘Just as importantly, he is a successful politician (two terms as president), a clever operator and a reasonable administrator.’
    • ‘Allan has proven himself to be a shrewd operator on a tight budget as his firm has attempted to weather the huge downturn in sentiment towards the telecom sector.’
    • ‘Being a shrewd political operator, the deputy will be anxious not to be seen to be involved publicly in the co-option.’
    • ‘News that his wife was pregnant once again came just days before the recent budget, and proves once again what a shrewd political operator he just is.’
    • ‘So he's a shrewd political operator, and he's been around, as you say, since the days of the revolution.’
    • ‘In fact, she's a shrewd operator who has always preferred to get out there and earn a living, even if the roles haven't exactly been Oscar contenders.’
    • ‘Do not be taken in by clever and smooth operators or you could get involved in illegal deals.’
    • ‘He's a shrewd operator and will assemble the best squad possible.’
    • ‘The goal of model management is to provide a set of high-level operators for manipulating models of data, rather than the data itself.’
    • ‘Don't bet against it as this Donegal team have the basis upon which a shrewd operator like Brian can build.’
    • ‘Seemingly on his way out when he was shifted from the Foreign Office at the last reshuffle, this shrewd operator may have identified a swift route back to the heart of the government.’
    • ‘A business graduate, he began to earn a name for himself as a shrewd and energetic operator at NCB stockbrokers.’
    • ‘While he could be a shrewd and tough political operator when it was needed, he will mainly be remembered as a decent trustworthy person with an deep core of human kindness.’
    • ‘One of Rove's heroes was Mark Hanna, a shrewd political operator from Ohio who helped put William McKinley in the White House in 1896.’
    • ‘Now, in such a situation a really clever operator will only drop in a few of the ‘convincers’ that he has already developed and stored away.’
    • ‘Fleming was regarded in railroad and banking circles as a shrewd operator.’
    • ‘Though professionally chummy she is personally steely, a shrewd operator with no qualms about tough questions and drawing blood.’
    • ‘He may be a hippie at heart but he's also a shrewd operator with an MBA and management know-how gleaned from stints at Andersen Consulting and from running his own consultancy.’
    manipulator, manoeuvrer, mover, worker, string-puller, mover and shaker, wheeler-dealer
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  • 4Mathematics
    A symbol or function denoting an operation (e.g. ×, +).

    • ‘This work initiates the algebraic theory of operators.’
    • ‘Smoothing operators and functions have been used for interpolation and, more generally, data fitting.’
    • ‘An idea of Koopman on the possibilities of treating problems of classical mechanics by means of operators on a function space stimulated him to give the first mathematically rigorous proof of an ergodic theorem.’
    • ‘His recent breakthroughs in the theory of characteristic functions for several commuting operators indicate that in spite of his seventy years, mathematically Moshe is still a young man.’
    • ‘Why does he require the associative law to hold if his symbols are operators?’