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

Examples of apparatus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the effort shows the consensus among White House officials on the need to improve the nation's testing apparatus, which was caught unprepared by the perfect storm of high demand for pre-holiday testing and a surge of omicron cases. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, 21 Dec. 2021 The human internal time-keeping apparatus, known scientifically as the circadian clock, is a powerful force. Sara Harrison, Wired, 20 Dec. 2021 Additionally, the Democrats’ fundraising apparatus, ActBlue, is allowing Arraf to fundraise on the platform. Fox News, 12 Nov. 2021 New amenities being added to Cricket Park include swings, various climbing apparatus (monkey bars and balance beams combined) and a climbing structure that will look like a cricket. John Benson, cleveland, 11 Nov. 2021 In fact, polls indicate that that media apparatus has been largely successful convincing Republicans of the lie that President Joe Biden was not duly elected. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 Sharon Sanchez, who owns a security company in Miami, her hometown, said the public safety apparatus on display was a welcome sight on her first visit to New York City. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2021 According to the ordinance, most of the breathing apparatus now in use are more than 20 years old and do not meet current safety standards. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 8 Dec. 2021 The behemoth border enforcement and detention apparatus are incredibly costly ventures, and have become only more so over time. Tanvi Misra, The New Republic, 7 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near apparatus



apparatus criticus

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Statistics for apparatus

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apparatus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for apparatus



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

More from Merriam-Webster on apparatus

Nglish: Translation of apparatus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apparatus for Arabic Speakers


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