ap·pli·ance | \ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s \
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

The interior offers intimate farmhouse vibes, with sensible updates like new windows marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Restored 1756 Martha’s Vineyard farmhouse asks $2.25M," 10 July 2018 The apartments feature in-unit washers and dryers, granite countertops and stainless steel kitchen appliances, LED lighting and walk-in closets. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After long debate, Germantown's Saxony Village is opening apartments aimed at millennials," 6 July 2018 In the kitchen, which has been updated, marble countertops pair with Viking stainless steel appliances. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Judy Garland’s onetime Malibu beach house sells off-market for $3.545 million," 5 July 2018 The kitchens at Crossroads Westside Apartments were designed with high-end finishes such as two-tone Shaker cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Saltwater pool, gym, dog spa: Tour downtown KC's new Crossroads Westside Apartments," 27 June 2018 Stainless steel appliances match the silver cabinet handles and add a polished look the sleek space. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Modern meets antique. This Norton Commons cottage is the perfect combo," 21 June 2018 The open, circular layout features a bright living room with gas fireplace, a dining room that opens to a composite deck, and a stylish kitchen with stone counters, island, and stainless appliances. Jon Gorey,, "For sale: Homes near golf courses, in Lakeville and Quincy," 8 June 2018 Crime-scene techs placed a single yellow evidence cone in the lakebound lanes of Downman, in front of a closed appliance store. Laura Mcknight,, "Man shot in New Orleans East: NOPD," 31 May 2018 All units come with a washer and dryer, parking spot, stainless steel appliances, designer features in kitchens and bathrooms, and expansive views in many of the units. Phillip Molnar,, "What do you think of this East Village apartment building?," 31 May 2018

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

10 Oct 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of appliance

: a piece of household equipment that performs a particular job


ap·pli·ance | \ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s \

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

What made you want to look up appliance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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