operate on


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operate on someone

to perform a surgical operation on someone. They decided not to operate on her. She wasn't operated on after all.
See also: on, operate

operate on something

 
1. to work on something; to work with the insides of something. (As a surgeon might operate.) He tried to operate on his watch and ruined it. Todd operated on the door lock and fixed it.
2. to function or conduct business on a certain principle or assumption. The company has always operated on the theory that the customer is always right. Sam operates on the assumption that everyone is out to get him.
See also: on, operate