smooth operator

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smooth operator (plural smooth operators)

  1. A person who accomplishes tasks with efficiency and grace, especially one with verbal skills who is persuasive in interpersonal relationships, negotiation, etc.
    • 1986 February 10, “American Notes: Agriculture”, in Time[1]:
      In Washington he has earned a reputation as a smooth operator who can handle lobbyists, bureaucrats and even Congressmen, with a cool head.
    • 2008 March 17, Andy Katz, “Tourney Trail”, in[2], retrieved 13 Oct. 2008:
      Alexander lit up Connecticut for 34 points in a Big East quarterfinal win last week. He is a smooth operator who can score in a variety of ways.
  2. A skillful, manipulative person, con artist, or clever scoundrel.
    • 1972 September 29, Fred Wright, “Film Review: Sex Film Minus Punchline?”, in St. Petersburg Independent[3], retrieved 13 Oct. 2008, page 5-B:
      He plays the hospital administrator, a fast-talking smooth operator who cons patients and doctors alike.
    • 1984, “Smooth Operator”, in Diamond Life, performed by Sade:
      His eyes are like angels', his heart is cold / No need to ask / He's a smooth operator