Meaning of OPERATION in English


op ‧ e ‧ ra ‧ tion S1 W1 /ˌɒpəˈreɪʃ ə n $ ˌɑːp-/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ operation , ↑ cooperation , ↑ operative , ↑ cooperative , ↑ operator ; adjective : ↑ operational , ↑ operative , ↑ cooperative ≠ ↑ uncooperative ; verb : ↑ operate , ↑ cooperate ; adverb : ↑ operationally , ↑ cooperatively ]

1 . MEDICAL [countable] the process of cutting into someone’s body to repair or remove a part that is damaged

operation on

She’s going to need an operation on her ankle.

operation for

an operation for cancer

operation to do something

He had an operation to reduce the swelling in his brain.

2 . BUSINESS/ORGANIZATION [countable] a business, company, or organization:

The firm set up its own property development operation.

a microchip manufacturing operation

Nolan and Barnes were both involved in the operation.

3 . WORK/ACTIVITIES [uncountable and countable] the work or activities done by a business or organization, or the process of doing this work:

Many small businesses fail in the first year of operation.

The Education Business Partnership has been in operation since 1989.

4 . ACTIONS [countable] a set of planned actions or activities for a particular purpose:

The UN rescue operation started shortly after dawn.

5 . MACHINE/SYSTEM [uncountable] the way the parts of a machine or system work together, or the process of making a machine or system work:

The aircraft’s engine operation was normal.

in operation

Protective clothing must be worn when the machine is in operation.

The device has a single button, allowing for easy operation.

Careful checks must be made before the factory commences operation.

The new investment system came into operation in 1999.

6 . PRINCIPLE/LAW/PLAN ETC [uncountable] the way something such as a principle or law works or has an effect

in operation

a clear example of the law of gravity in operation

come/go into operation (=begin to have an effect)

The new rule comes into operation on February 1.

put/bring something into operation (=make something start to work)

A scheme is being brought into operation to see how these changes would work.

7 . MILITARY/POLICE ACTION [countable] a planned military or police action, especially one that involves a lot of people:

Britain will carry out a joint military operation with the US.

8 . COMPUTERS [countable] an action done by a computer

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■ verbs

▪ have an operation ( also undergo an operation formal )

Harris had a hip operation in October.


She has undergone 50 operations since birth.

▪ do/carry out an operation ( also perform an operation formal )

The operation was carried out by a team of surgeons at Papworth Hospital.


I’ve done this operation hundreds of times.

▪ recover from an operation

A man is recovering from an emergency operation after his pet dog attacked him.

▪ survive an operation

Only one person has survived an operation to implant an artificial heart.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + operation

▪ a knee/heart/stomach etc operation

He is almost back to full fitness after a knee operation.

▪ a major/minor operation

The unit cares for patients recovering from major operations.

▪ an emergency operation

He had to have his spleen removed in an emergency operation.

▪ a routine operation (=an operation that is often performed)

a routine operation to remove an appendix

▪ a life-saving operation

The child underwent a life-saving operation to remove a blockage in her stomach.

▪ a transplant operation

He is too weak to undergo a transplant operation.


► Do not say ' take an operation '. Say have an operation .

Do not say ' make an operation '. Say do an operation or perform an operation .

• • •


▪ operation noun [countable] the process of cutting into someone’s body to repair or remove a part that is damaged:

He had an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain.

▪ procedure noun [countable] an operation performed in a particular way on a particular part of the body. Procedure is used especially in medical English, for example by doctors and people who work in hospitals. In everyday English people usually say operation :

a common surgical procedure


The procedure normally only takes a few minutes.

▪ transplant noun [countable] an operation to remove an organ from one person’s body and put it into another person’s body:

There is a shortage of donors for heart transplants.


She had to have a kidney transplant.

▪ surgery noun [uncountable] medical treatment involving an operation:

She required surgery on her right knee.


He was taken in for surgery.

▪ plastic surgery noun [uncountable] surgery to improve someone’s appearance:

The singer has just had plastic surgery on her nose.

▪ bypass noun [countable] an operation to make someone’s blood flow past a part of their heart that is blocked or damaged, often using a ↑ vein that has been removed from another part of their body:

He went into hospital for a triple heart bypass.

▪ skin graft an operation to repair an area of skin that has been badly damaged, especially using skin from another part of someone’s body:

Her leg was severely burned and may require a skin graft.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.