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Alternative forms[edit]


From operational +‎ -ize.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɒpəˈɹeɪʃ(ə)nəlʌɪz/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌɑpəˈɹeɪʃənəˌlaɪz/


operationalize (third-person singular simple present operationalizes, present participle operationalizing, simple past and past participle operationalized)

  1. (transitive) To make operational.
  2. (transitive, social sciences) To define (a concept) in such a way that it can be practically measured.
    • 1956, Ernest Greenwood, "New Directions in Delinquency Research: A Commentary on a Study by Bernard Lander," Social Service Review, vol. 30, no. 2, p. 152:
      To operationalize a concept is to identify those variables in terms of which the phenomenon represented by the concept can be accurately observed.
    • 2012, Adam Zeman, ‘Only Connect’, Literary Review, issue 399:
      Vision seems ‘childishly simple’ to us but proves to be fiendishly hard to operationalise, precisely because we are so good at it.

Derived terms[edit]