ap·​pli·​ance ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s How to pronounce appliance (audio)
plural appliances
: an act of applying
: a piece of equipment for adapting a tool or machine to a special purpose : attachment
: 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
British : fire engine
: 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
computing : information appliance
A growing number of companies are coming up with ways [in 2000] to turn ordinary phones into Internet appliances.Sharon Cleary
obsolete : compliance
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 Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 0.6% and grocery store sales moved up 0.7%. Anne D'innocenzio, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2023 Additional highlights include formal living and dining rooms, plus a gourmet kitchen outfitted with custom cabinetry, stone countertops, a center island, top-tier stainless appliances, a butler’s pantry and an accompanying breakfast nook. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 14 Nov. 2023 Though one 2022 study found that renters are more likely to have electric appliances than homeowners, some 15 million renters like Spears move into an apartment connected to gas. Yessenia Funes, The Verge, 14 Nov. 2023 The viral video has more than half a million views on TikTok and claims that vacuuming up scented laundry beads keeps the appliance (and your carpet or furniture) smelling fresh for weeks. Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Nov. 2023 There’s no shortage of deals on cookware and kitchen appliances, either. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 11 Nov. 2023 Stainless-steel Frigidaire appliances are standard, including a three-door refrigerator. Benjamin C Tankersley, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 Residents snapped up air purifiers and one service center for the appliances said there was a shortage of new filters and fresh stocks were expected on Monday. Reuters, NBC News, 3 Nov. 2023 Instead of waiting until Black Friday, consider tapping into this early deal at Our Place while savings are up to 40 percent off on cookware, bundles, appliances, and tableware. Nicol Natale, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'appliance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


apply + -ance

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of appliance was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near appliance

Cite this Entry

“Appliance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​pli·​ance ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s How to pronounce appliance (audio)
: a piece of equipment for making a tool or machine suitable for a special purpose : attachment
: a device designed for a particular use
a fire-fighting appliance
an appliance serving as an artificial arm
: a household device (as a stove, fan, or refrigerator) or piece of office equipment that runs on gas or electricity

Medical Definition


ap·​pli·​ance ə-ˈplī-ən(t)s How to pronounce appliance (audio)
: an instrument or device designed for a particular use
prosthetic appliances
an orthodontic appliance used to move misaligned teeth into proper occlusion

More from Merriam-Webster on appliance

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!