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 Also cool: the stove and pot click together into one apparatus, and the plastic cover that protects the bottom of the system doubles as a bowl. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "6 of Our Favorite Backpacking Stove Systems," 6 Nov. 2019 The video then shows footage of Hart in the hospital, wearing a heavy back brace and breathing apparatus, being helped out of bed by two nurses. Mike Miller,, "Kevin Hart shares emotional video on car crash recovery: 'My world was forever changed'," 30 Oct. 2019 The public is invited to tour the stations, view the firefighting equipment and apparatus, and meet their local firefighters. Houston Chronicle, "Katy-area caledar of events," 29 Sep. 2019 From the aftermath of World War II to the 1970s, there was virtually no congressional oversight of this intelligence apparatus. Charles Tiefer, The Conversation, "Spies and the White House have a history of running wild without congressional oversight," 27 Sep. 2019 After 25 years at the forefront of America’s military apparatus, the F-117 was officially retired on April 22, 2008, in favor of a new advanced stealth platform, the F-22 Raptor, and eventually, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the F-117 Nighthawk Is Such a Badass Plane," 12 Aug. 2019 The age was characterized by imperial wars, an epidemic of rape and lynching, the emergence of the legal and social apparatus of racial segregation, and antiblack racial laws that inspired the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws. Longreads, "A Minor Figure," 20 July 2019 Warren’s extensive organizing apparatus, particularly in early voting primary states, remains both a formidable asset — and a significant cost — as the campaign prepares to report $19.7 million in cash on hand. Elana Schor, The Denver Post, "Elizabeth Warren raises $19.1M in campaign contributions, tops Bernie Sanders during second quarter," 8 July 2019 Hume was no fan of slavery, mercantilism, or the apparatus of imperialism; Adam Smith, his compatriot, was more outspoken about these evils still. Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Review of Books, "Dialectics of Enlightenment," 9 May 2019

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 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Apparatus.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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