operation op‧e‧ra‧tion [ˌɒpəˈreɪʆn ǁ ˌɑː-] noun
1. [uncountable] the way the parts of a machine, system etc work together, or the process of making a machine, system etc work:

• the design and operation of specialized equipment

2. in/​into operation MANUFACTURING if something is in operation, or is put into operation, it is working or is made to start working:

• The nuclear plants in operation produce 400,000 megawatts.

• The new subway lines are scheduled to go into operation at the end of the year.

• The manufacturer put a $120 million joint venture in Hungary into operation last March.

3. [countable] COMMERCE ORGANIZATIONS a business activity or company:

• It claimed to be the only European commuter rail operation not supported by public money.

4. [countable] a part of a large business or company that does a particular activity or type of work:

• Its West European operations have emerged as the biggest profit earners in the entire group.

• The business has been able to shed its loss-making operations.

• This move strengthens the company's retailing operations in the Netherlands.

5. [countable, uncountable] COMMERCE the process of operating as a business:

• Many small businesses fail in the first year of operation.

• The publishing house ceased operations in 1998.

• The firm is stillin operation.

6. operations [plural] FINANCE a company's normal activities related to providing services or producing goods, rather than other actions with financial effects, such as selling assets:

• The company reported earnings from operations of about 88 cents a share.

7. [countable] FINANCE the action of buying or selling something; = TRANSACTION:

• Their purchase was not the straightforward financial operation they claimed.

8. come into operation/​put something into operation when a law, system, or rule comes into operation, it starts having an effect or being used:

• The new rule comes into operation on 1 February.

• We hope to put the new regulations into operation immediately.

9. [countable] COMPUTING an action done by a computer or a machine:

• Several operations can be carried out by the program at the same time.

10. [countable] a set of actions, usually involving a large number of people, that are planned to achieve a particular purpose:

• a salvage operation

• The construction and administration of questionnaires is a highly skilled operation.

* * *

operation UK US /ˌɒpərˈeɪʃən/ noun
[U] the fact of operating or being active: come into/begin operation »

We expect the new procedure to come into operation early next year.

be out of/cease operation »

The company was facing a court order to cease operation.


The construction work will not affect the day-to-day operation of the company.

in operation »

There are several reactors of this type in operation at the moment.


We hope to be in commercial operation within three months.


The firm is in its third year of operation.

[C] a business organization: »

Less profitable business operations will have difficulty finding financial support.


a banking/retail/manufacturing operation


We can capture carbon emissions at power plants, oil refineries, and cement-making operations.


The group's profits fell, despite a good performance from its overseas operations.

operations — Cf. operations
[C] an activity which is planned to achieve something: an operation to do sth »

The police have launched an operation to prevent the sale of pirated software.


A rescue operation to save the country's largest bank is underway.


a cost-cutting operation.


a military/peacekeeping operation

[U] the way that parts of a machine work together, or the process of making parts of a machine or system work together: »

Teamwork is essential to ensure the smooth operation of the department.


Open the machine and check the operation of the locking mechanism.

See also HOLDING OPERATION(Cf. ↑holding operation), MATERIALS, REPAIR, OPERATION(Cf. ↑materials, repair, operation)

Financial and business terms. 2012.


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