the operative word

the operative word

The word in a statement that is most important in understanding its intended or true meaning. The police released a statement saying they have not yet filed any charges. The operative word being "yet."
See also: operative, word

the ˌoperative ˈword

used to emphasize that a particular word or phrase is the most important one in a sentence: I was in love with her — ‘was’ being the operative word.
See also: operative, word
References in periodicals archive ?
Says: THE operative word here is "AN" Apple website.
Whether that happens is another matter but I think there is a genuine feeling that should they get a marquee signing early on, then it could be a fruitful summer for fans and the club - 'should' being the operative word there.
Big is the operative word for the new surgical suites", commented Ara Pridjian, medical director for cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Sparrow.
Lost" is indeed the operative word for this violent fairy tale about a fractured family trying to survive among the ruins of a city overrun by thugs, sexual predators and other demons, nearly all of them cribbed from the surreal cinematic imaginations of other, vastly more intuitive filmmakers.
Given that he is 55, surely the operative word should be "absurd"
Obviously 'who' being the operative word as he is currently starring as the said Doctor.
of Malta, Malta), by the operative word "critical," and bring together insights from critical theory, critical hermeneutics, discourse analysis, comparative studies, policy sociology, critical multiculturalism, postcolonial studies, post-structuralism, social anthropology, historical and critical ethnography, political economy, cultural studies, and critical studies.
But that lucky lot will be in for a treat because "scorch" really is the operative word for a car that pumps out 335bhp from its twin-turbo six-cylinder 3.
By not letting it fail," Hanks told a reporter--letting being the operative word.
Whereas it is perfectly understandable that children the world over have a natural tendency to be loud, run everywhere and make annoying screeches and screams A- the operative word is "tendency".
To start off, you're handed a Golf GTI to smash round the circuits, smash being the operative word in my case.
Nigella's main theme is to plan ahead and take the stress and strain out of Christmas catering without giving up any of the enjoyment of great food, shameless overindulgence and sociable time spent in the bosom of the family, bosom being the operative word here.
However, sadly AaedisposalAAE soon became the operative word Au rubbish disposal, that is.
Lately, the operative word in the private and charter school industry seems to be expansion.
He said fun is a big part of the celebration, but "family is the operative word.