smooth operator

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smooth operator (plural smooth operators)

  1. (idiomatic) A person who accomplishes tasks with efficiency and grace, especially one with verbal skills who is persuasive in interpersonal relationships, negotiation, etc.
    • 1986, "American Notes: Agriculture," Time, 10 Feb:
      In Washington he has earned a reputation as a smooth operator who can handle lobbyists, bureaucrats and even Congressmen, with a cool head.
    • 2008, Andy Katz, "Tourney Trail,", 17 Mar. (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. (idiomatic) A skillful, manipulative person, con artist, or clever scoundrel.
    • 1972, Fred Wright, "Film Review: Sex Film Minus Punchline?," St. Petersburg Independent, 29 Sep., p. 5-B (retrieved 13 Oct. 2008):
      He plays the hospital administrator, a fast-talking smooth operator who cons patients and doctors alike.