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 Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump have kept their distance from his post-presidential apparatus and shown little interest in reengaging anytime soon. Gabby Orr, CNN, "Donald Trump Jr. takes on new role as top adviser inside the Trump family," 20 Apr. 2021 The tragic situation is compounded by the fact that India has such a large population – 1.4 billion people – and the nation is still building its healthcare apparatus. Peter Bendor-samuel, Forbes, "High Spike In COVID-19 In India Affecting Workforce For Third-Party Services In The US," 20 Apr. 2021 The speakers emphasized the importance of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his party apparatus in China’s international stance. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "China experts warn of rocky road ahead on trade," 23 Mar. 2021 The mayor and fire chief were also expected to showcase the city’s newest firefighting apparatus, a tractor-trailer aerial truck designed for battling blazes in high-density residential areas. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego opens new fire station in University City," 24 Nov. 2020 Right now, shoppers can get this beloved apparatus, originally $499.95, on sale for $399.95 for $100 in savings. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, "Parents are obsessed with this Nuna RAVA car seat—and it's finally back on sale," 20 Nov. 2020 The key to the regime’s continued survival was tight control of a large, loyal security apparatus. Jeffrey Haynes, Quartz Africa, "The controversial political legacy of Ghana’s Jerry Rawlings," 13 Nov. 2020 The push from the local GOP apparatus, prominent Republicans at the top of the ballot and attack ads from outside groups all may have played a role, local Democrats and experts say. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "Democrats were hopeful Hale could flip the 5th District. Here's why that didn't happen.," 8 Nov. 2020 Even the smallest change in Draco’s optical apparatus—a mere micron of change between its primary and secondary cameras—can throw the camera completely out of focus and cause DART to go blind. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "How to Build a Spacecraft to Save the World," 15 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apparatus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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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

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