operative

Bond, James Bond, is perhaps the most famous fictional operative of our time. Martini-drinking, globe-trotting, and womanizing aside, let us not forget his primary role as a government secret agent — collecting intelligence and bringing down the world's enemies.

As a noun, operative is often used as a synonym for spy. It can also, less covertly, be used to name a skilled worker, as in "No one aligns gears better than Joe, an operative at the car factory." As an adjective, operative can mean that something is working, as in "an operative car alarm." Finally, operative can mean "the most important or effective word." James Bond is a fictional operative, and the operative word in that statement is fictional.

Primary Meanings of operative

1.
adj
effective; producing a desired effect
2.
adj
relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine
3.
n
someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information
Full Definitions of operative
1

adj effective; producing a desired effect

“the operative word”
Synonyms:
important, significant
important in effect or meaning

adj being in force or having or exerting force

operative regulations”
“the major tendencies operative in the American political system”
Synonyms:
operant
having influence or producing an effect
effective, good, in effect, in force
exerting force or influence
in operation, operating, operational
being in effect or operation
working
serving to permit or facilitate further work or activity
Antonyms:
inoperative
not working or taking effect
down
not functioning (temporarily or permanently)
dead
out of use or operation because of a fault or breakdown
defunct
no longer in force or use; inactive
show more antonyms...

adj (of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing

Synonyms:
functional, running, working
functioning
performing or able to perform its regular function
2

adj relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery especially as opposed to medicine

operative dentistry”
Synonyms:
surgical
preoperative
happening or done before and in preparation for a surgical operation
postoperative
happening or done after a surgical operation
Antonyms:
medical
requiring or amenable to treatment by medicine especially as opposed to surgery
3

n someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information

Synonyms:
PI, private detective, private eye, private investigator, shamus, sherlock
Types:
hotel detective, house detective, house dick
a private detective employed by a hotel or retail store
inquiry agent
a private detective
store detective
a private detective employed by a merchant to stop pilferage
Type of:
detective
an investigator engaged or employed in obtaining information not easily available to the public

n a person secretly employed in espionage for a government

Synonyms:
intelligence agent, intelligence officer, secret agent
Examples:
Margarete Gertrud Zelle
Dutch dancer who was executed by the French as a German spy in World War I (1876-1917)
Types:
show 16 types...
hide 16 types...
agent-in-place
an operative serving as a penetration into an intelligence target
agent provocateur, provocateur
a secret agent who incites suspected persons to commit illegal acts
bridge agent
an operative who acts as a courier or go-between from a case officer to a secret agent in a hostile area
case officer
an operative who also serves as an official staffer of an intelligence service
codetalker, windtalker
a secret agent who was one of the Navajos who devised and used a code based on their native language; the code was unbroken by the Japanese during World War II
foot
a member of a surveillance team who works on foot or rides as a passenger
NOC
an undercover agent who is given no official cover
spy, undercover agent
(military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors
walk-in
an operative who initiates his own defection (usually to a hostile country) for political asylum
action officer
the case officer designated to perform an act during a clandestine operation (especially in a hostile area)
counterspy, mole
a spy who works against enemy espionage
double agent
a spy who works for two mutually antagonistic countries
espionage agent
someone employed to spy on another country or business competitor
foreign agent
a spy for a foreign country
infiltrator
someone who takes up a position surreptitiously for the purpose of espionage
sleeper
a spy or saboteur or terrorist planted in an enemy country who lives there as a law-abiding citizen until activated by a prearranged signal
Type of:
agent
a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations

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