Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Involving great labor; laborious.
  • adj. Industrious; diligent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Wrought with labor; requiring labor; hence, tedious; wearisome.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wrought with labor; requiring labor; hence, tedious; wearisome.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Laborious; attended with labor; tedious.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion; especially physical effort

Etymologies

Latin operōsus, from opus, oper-, work; see op- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin operōsus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One might imagine that the sheer messiness of those involuntary consequences could be just as inconvenient as the "operose and diabolical ... machination" that

    Romantic Loves: A Response to _Historicizing Romantic Sexuality_

  • They do not sow barley without very copious manure, and then they expect from it ten for one, an increase equal to that of better countries; but the culture is so operose that they content themselves commonly with oats; and who can relate without compassion, that after all their diligence they are to expect only a triple increase?

    A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland

  • That there is such a merit attending the death of Christ is apparent from what was said before; neither is the weight of any operose proving [of] it imposed on us, by our adversaries seeming to acknowledge it no less themselves; so that we may take it for granted (until our adversaries close with the Socinians in this also).

    The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

  • Goliath, hath been often cast to the ground, so I heartily wish that the many operose, prolix answers which the boasting of our adversaries hath drawn forth had not got, [for] this poor nothing, more repute a thousand times than its own strength, or any addition of force from the managers of it could have procured unto it.

    The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

  • First, his gifts and graces were not only decried, but almost excluded from the public worship of the church, by the imposition of an operose form of service, to be read by the minister; which to do is neither a peculiar gift of the Holy Ghost to any, nor of the ministry at all.

    Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost

  • These observations, however, may suffice, lest we be too operose in demonstrating a matter that is so plain and perspicuous.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 2

  • _, 'Poemata eius etiam praelegi memini, confici vero ac proponi, non tantum operose et diligenter, sed et inepte quoque.'

    The Student's Companion to Latin Authors

  • All these operose proceedings were adopted by one of the most decided tyrants in the rolls of history, as necessary preliminaries, before he could venture, by bribing the members of his two servile houses with a share of the spoil, and holding out to them an eternal immunity from taxation, to demand a confirmation of his iniquitous proceedings by an act of Parliament.

    Paras. 200-224

  • Some of the Xenia are far-fetched and operose, while others sound rather vacuous.

    The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller

  • The atmosphere of operose indolence, prolonged through centuries and centuries, stifles; nor can antiquity and influence impose upon a mind which resents monkery itself as an essential evil.

    Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete Series I, II, and III

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  • ...if Jacqueline had rendered the house far more lovely, it did not, in a sense difficult to explain, seem grateful to her for her taste, and its coats of new paint, any more than it was grateful to Ethan for removing its operose porch...

    - Malcolm Lowry, October Ferry to Gabriola

    July 30, 2008