The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Operate \Op"er*ate\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Operated; p. pr. &
vb. n. Operating.] [L. operatus, p. p. of operari to work,
fr. opus, operis, work, labor; akin to Skr. apas, and also to
G. ["u]ben to exercise, OHG. uoben, Icel. [ae]fa. Cf.
Inure, Maneuver, Ure.]
1. To perform a work or labor; to exert power or strength,
physical or mechanical; to act.
2. To produce an appropriate physical effect; to issue in the
result designed by nature; especially (Med.), to take
appropriate effect on the human system.
3. To act or produce effect on the mind; to exert moral power
The virtues of private persons operate but on a few.
A plain, convincing reason operates on the mind both
of a learned and ignorant hearer as long as they
4. (Surg.) To perform some manual act upon a human body in a
methodical manner, and usually with instruments, with a
view to restore soundness or health, as in amputation,
5. To deal in stocks or any commodity with a view to
speculative profits. [Brokers' Cant]