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 Being energy efficient isn’t just about switching to LED lightbulbs or unplugging idle appliances. Bridget Reed Morawski, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 The air fryer is one of our favorite kitchen appliances, but admittedly, not our favorite thing to clean. Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 Sep. 2023 However, the nomination faced a major hurdle over the DOE’s new appliance efficiency standards that aimed at cracking down on emissions from household appliances, including gas stoves. Nancy Vu, Washington Examiner, 7 Sep. 2023 So, if have a new project around the house, an old appliance that needs replacing, or a backyard ready to be tamed, make sure to check out our picks for the best post-Labor Day deals at Lowe's. Tom Price, Popular Mechanics, 6 Sep. 2023 On Tuesday, administrators in Worcester sent out guidance that calls for reduced outdoor activities and keeping classrooms cool by shutting off appliances. John R. Ellement,, 6 Sep. 2023 If appliances are side by side, vertical storage solutions can free up room, notes Tara Lenney, owner of Tara Lenney Design. Leslie J. Thompson, Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2023 After a quick sear and sauté, your favorite kitchen appliance will do most of the work. Mary Shannon Wells, Southern Living, 5 Sep. 2023 The process includes installing a new service regulator on each property to maintain a safe level of pressure between the gas system and customer homes and appliances. Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun, 1 Sep. 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 Sep. 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

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