Modus Operandi

DEFINITION of 'Modus Operandi'

A Latin term used in English to describe an individual or group's habitual way of operating. The term is commonly used when discussing criminal behavior, but does not exclusively refer to criminal behavior. Modus operandi is often shortened to M.O. in both writing and speaking.

BREAKING DOWN 'Modus Operandi'

A ponzi scheme's M.O. is to take money from new investors and use it to pay off old investors to create the appearance that the old investors are earning a return. A straight-A student's M.O. might be to get all her homework done the day before it is due, never miss a class and visit professors during their office hours once a week.



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