adj 1: being in force or having or exerting force; "operative
regulations"; "the major tendencies operative in the
American political system" [ant: inoperative
2: of or relating to a surgical operation; "operative surgery"
3: relating to or requiring or amenable to treatment by surgery
especially as opposed to medicine; "a surgical appendix";
"a surgical procedure"; "operative dentistry" [syn: surgical
4: effective; producing a desired effect; "the operative word"
5: (of e.g. a machine) performing or capable of performing; "in
running (or working) order"; "a functional set of brakes"
n 1: a person secretly employed in espionage for a government
[syn: secret agent
, intelligence officer
2: someone who can be employed as a detective to collect
information [syn: private detective
, private eye