ap·​pli·​ance | \ ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s How to pronounce appliance (audio) \
plural appliances

Definition of appliance

1 : an act of applying
2a : a piece of equipment for adapting a tool or machine to a special purpose : attachment
b : an instrument or device designed for a particular use or function an orthodontic appliance specifically : a household or office device (such as a stove, fan, or refrigerator) operated by gas or electric current
c British : fire engine
d : an artificial part or mask that is worn as part of an actor's makeup or costume … more grown-ups are shelling out for scary facial appliances—wounds, snouts and horns—to create the creepy characters they've dreamed up on their own.— Dana Coffield
e computing : information appliance A growing number of companies are coming up with ways [in 2000] to turn ordinary phones into Internet appliances.— Sharon Cleary
3 obsolete : compliance

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Choose the Right Synonym for appliance

implement, tool, instrument, appliance, utensil mean a relatively simple device for performing work. implement may apply to anything necessary to perform a task. crude stone implements farm implements tool suggests an implement adapted to facilitate a definite kind or stage of work and suggests the need of skill more strongly than implement. a carpenter's tools instrument suggests a device capable of delicate or precise work. the dentist's instruments appliance refers to a tool or instrument utilizing a power source and suggests portability or temporary attachment. household appliances utensil applies to a device used in domestic work or some routine unskilled activity. kitchen utensils

Examples of appliance in a Sentence

All household appliances are now on sale. since the invention of the cork, all manner of appliances have been invented for the extraction of these sometimes troublesome stoppers

Recent Examples on the Web

Alyssa Nassner Amazon Prime Day may be known for its Black Friday-like deals on everything from small appliances to home tech, but there’s one category that is often overlooked: children’s gear. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Don’t miss these Prime Day deals on baby and kid gear," 15 July 2019 Most colleges offer rental services for dorm room appliances, like mini fridges and microwaves. Brigitt Earley, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Back-to-College Shopping Done Without Paying More Than Tuition," 12 July 2019 The wwards are part of SVCE’s FutureFit Homes initiative that encourages switching from natural gas appliances to high-efficiency electric technologies. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "Cupertino community briefs for the week of July 12," 6 July 2019 Rigorous efficiency standards for appliances, businesses and vehicles have brought the Golden State’s emissions down. The Economist, "Can American states slow global warming on their own?," 29 June 2019 Its cost for the four GE appliances combined, for example, is $1,850 per home; a do-it-yourselfer would pay around $3,000 at Home Depot. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Meet the A.I. Landlord That’s Building a Single-Family-Home Empire," 21 June 2019 Just as Lawrence Freiman dreamed, customers across the globe regularly sit down and order everything from appliances to apparel off of a catalog on a screen. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "‘Vis-O-Matic’ Was the 1950s Version of Online Shopping," 20 June 2019 Yet Kenneth O’Neill, who manages an appliance store, said that socialism would strip away individual rights. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "The Many, Tangled American Definitions of Socialism," 14 June 2019 Through an affiliate called Transform Holdco LLC, the former chief executive of Sears Holdings Corp. is offering shareholders of the Sears spinoff, which includes its hardware and appliance stores, $2.25 a share, or about $21 million. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Edward Lampert Offers to Buy Remaining Shares of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores," 8 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appliance.' 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 appliance

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for appliance

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appliance

The first known use of appliance was in 1555

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More Definitions for appliance



English Language Learners Definition of appliance

: a machine (such as a stove, microwave, or dishwasher) that is powered by electricity and that is used in people's houses to perform a particular job


ap·​pli·​ance | \ ə-ˈplī-əns How to pronounce appliance (audio) \

Kids Definition of appliance

: a piece of household equipment that performs a particular job


ap·​pli·​ance | \ ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s How to pronounce appliance (audio) \

Medical Definition of appliance

: an instrument or device designed for a particular use prosthetic appliances an orthodontic appliance used to move misaligned teeth into proper occlusion

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Comments on appliance

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