ap·​pa·​ra·​tus | \ ˌa-pə-ˈra-təs How to pronounce apparatus (audio) , -ˈrā- How to pronounce apparatus (audio) \
plural apparatuses or apparatus

Definition of apparatus

1a : a set of materials or equipment designed for a particular use
b : a group of anatomical or cytological parts functioning together mitotic apparatus
c : an instrument or appliance designed for a specific operation an apparatus for measuring vision
2 : the functional processes by means of which a systematized activity is carried out the apparatus of society : such as
a : the machinery of government
b : the organization of a political party or an underground movement

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Examples of apparatus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 2013, Abrams formed the New Georgia Project, initially as an apparatus to sign up people for the Affordable Care Act, particularly people of color living in southwest Georgia. New York Times, "Knocking on Two Million Doors in Georgia," 29 Dec. 2020 Schmidt’s former employer is a bit of a dark horse in the nation’s immigration apparatus. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, "Joe Biden Doesn’t Need the GOP’s Permission to Fix Our Broken Immigration System," 25 Dec. 2020 Fang’s methods are nothing new from China’s intelligence apparatus, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Swalwell's dad, brother remain Facebook friends with suspected Chinese spy years after lawmaker cut her off," 10 Dec. 2020 Amid a wave of internal Iranian finger-pointing that has followed the attack, analysts say Iran’s intelligence apparatus often appears to be looking in the wrong places for threats. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Iran, assassination shock spurs calls to rethink security," 3 Dec. 2020 The cultured meat is created in a bioreactor -- an apparatus in which a biological reaction or change takes place -- Eat Just said. Amy Woodyatt And Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "Singapore becomes first country to approve lab-grown meat," 2 Dec. 2020 Indeed, Trump’s foray into politics was always a product of the sprawling, reactionary echo chamber that is the right-wing media apparatus. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "In an era of political polarization, ‘Trump TV’ makes perfect sense," 27 Nov. 2020 Capitalism was run as a national utility, and democracy found its consummation as an essential management apparatus. Rana Dasgupta, Harper's Magazine, "The Silenced Majority," 24 Nov. 2020 The Santee fire happened during the Valley fire in Alpine and Jamul, and required 28 fire engines, eight chief officers, two water dropping helicopters and one water tender fire apparatus to put it out. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "September fire in Santee riverbed leads to wider firebreak," 25 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparatus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apparatus

circa 1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for apparatus

borrowed from Latin apparātus "act of preparing, display, trappings, equipment," from apparāre "to make ready, make preparations for" (from ad- ad- + parāre "to supply, provide, make ready") + -tus, suffix of verbal nouns — more at pare

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Time Traveler for apparatus

Time Traveler

The first known use of apparatus was circa 1628

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Statistics for apparatus

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apparatus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for apparatus


How to pronounce apparatus (audio) How to pronounce apparatus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of apparatus

: a tool or piece of equipment used for specific activities
: the organization or system used for doing or operating something


ap·​pa·​ra·​tus | \ ˌa-pə-ˈra-təs How to pronounce apparatus (audio) , -ˈrā- \
plural apparatuses or apparatus

Kids Definition of apparatus

: the equipment or material for a particular use or job gymnasium apparatus laboratory apparatus


ap·​pa·​ra·​tus | \ ˌap-ə-ˈrat-əs How to pronounce apparatus (audio) , -ˈrāt- How to pronounce apparatus (audio) \
plural apparatuses or apparatus

Medical Definition of apparatus

: a group of anatomical and cytological parts having a common function the respiratory apparatus — see golgi apparatus

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