Surgery as a noun is also performance of a surgical procedure. Surgical is an adjective. I couldn't find anywhere a verb for surgery. Like how you 'operate' for the noun operation.

  • No, there is not a verb form of the kind you are seeking/looking for/searching for, for the word surgery.
    – NES
    Nov 6, 2015 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Ravi - To cut, or cut on is the best I can come up with. Have you tried looking into fictions or even factious novels pertaining to surgery? I'm sure the writer(s), of these things had to come up with something. Also it would seem likely that a surgeon would know the answer you seek.
    – JCG
    Nov 6, 2015 at 21:57
  • 2
    slicing and dicing
    – Drew
    Nov 6, 2015 at 23:54
  • Do you want a verb that is related in meaning to the word surgery, or one that is based on the same root?
    – herisson
    Nov 7, 2015 at 4:38
  • Yes, I was looking for one based on the same root.
    – Ravi
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:26

5 Answers 5


The verb is 'to operate'. Sense 4 of 'to operate' from the OED is specifically a surgical sense:

  1. Surg.
    a. intr. To perform an operation. Also with on, upon.

["operate, v.". OED Online. September 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/131741 (accessed November 06, 2015).]

Notably, the OED Thesaurus lists no synonyms for this, the surgical sense of the verb 'to operate'.

  • This is (fairly) clearly not what was asked for.
    – Toothrot
    Nov 7, 2015 at 12:06
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    @Lawrence, I'm a militant anti-intentionalist, which means I don't know what the OP intended to ask for, and you don't either. I'll leave the resolution (if any) of that question up to the OP. Sumelic asked about the 'related in meaning or based on the same root' point, but the query went unanswered. That leaves the field open. // I would have opted for 'to barber' as the verb, but I feel it's wise to let the surgeons coddle their delusions.
    – JEL
    Nov 8, 2015 at 11:09
  • He asks for a word that is to surgery as operate to operation. That indicates that he is already aware of the word operate.
    – Toothrot
    Nov 8, 2015 at 12:39
  • @Lawrence, yup, and how does that indicate he's aware of the surgical sense of 'to operate', or that there's no synonym in the rather extensive OED historical thesaurus? The objective (my objective) here is an answer to the question as asked, not speculation about the range of the OP's knowledge or the OP's intentions.
    – JEL
    Nov 8, 2015 at 22:41
  • Very well. I still don’t think you answered the quæstion asked. Of course there is always room for interpretation, but I think yours is a bad one.
    – Toothrot
    Nov 8, 2015 at 23:32

I would have said performing surgery.

  • +1 ... this should be the correct answer IMHO ... it's a (compound verb) from the same root, and in common usage. What more d'ya want? Sep 20, 2017 at 18:11

Consider the medical specific surgerize.

A popular verb for surgical therapy, as in ...the Pt was surgerized McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine

The patient was subsequently seen by Reuben Washington, M.D. and was surgerized at least twice for a shoulder injury New York Court of Appeals


I am pretty positive that when a Surgeon operates, they are performing a surgical procedure.

  • 2
    Sure, I was just speaking of the word itself though, maybe there is none other than just 'operate' I guess.
    – Ravi
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:34
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    Yeah, I don't think that surgery can have a verb because it refers to any type of treatment that requires an incision. Surgical is referring to anything to do with surgery. Operations can be surgical. But the nature of the two words are different. Nov 6, 2015 at 20:37
  • @Mari-LouA It occurs to me that in less time it took me to edit one error, overlook another, and re-edit, you could have fixed the problem yourself. Just sayin'.
    – deadrat
    Nov 7, 2015 at 0:56
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    @deadrat if you're going to fix a post, do it properly. Just saying, and also I had one person moaning at me about my edits today so...hey. Sometimes a comment should nudge the poster to make their own edits.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 7, 2015 at 0:58
  • @Mari-LouA Point taken. And a comment upvote for following ISINE in using the third person plural pronoun for the singular indeterminate.
    – deadrat
    Nov 7, 2015 at 1:23

We can add to the dictionary! I was looking for this word too, and though didn't find it, believe this makes complete sense, especially with some of the etymology others have stated:

surgered -- past participle of v. surger, "Be careful of the surgered knee."

If Merriam-freaking-Webster can change the definition of literally to mean figuratively, we can damn well make a verb from a noun. Happens naturally all the time as language evolves.

  • Sure. But the question is whether a verb form exists – is such a word in circulation. A neologism does not address the question. By the way, dictionaries did not change the definition of "literally". They documented actual use, which is all that dictionaries do. Not to say you can't criticize all the great authors who have been using "literally" to mean "figuratively", literally since the 1600s. But blame of Merriam-Webster is misplaced. Of course, maybe you didn't mean that literally.
    – MetaEd
    Sep 20, 2017 at 20:26

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