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 price to upgrade to better appliances in the overall scheme of the cost of the kitchen is minimal. Barbara Ballinger,, "Chicago designers offer do's and dont's for functional kitchens," 2 July 2018 Welcome Home Kits usually include small appliances, utensils, sheets, towels, and cleaning supplies. Zoie Matthew, Los Angeles Magazine, "Here’s What’s Being Done to End L.A.’s Homelessness Crisis," 14 June 2018 Guitar Center got its start in 1959 when former accordion and car salesman Wayne Mitchell bought the Organ Center, a small appliance and home-organ store in Hollywood. Jaclyn Cosgrove,, "Guitar Center looked ready for its swan song, but now the retailer is gearing up for an encore," 6 June 2018 Many recyclers have begun turning away noncovered devices or charging fees to take lower scrap value items like printers, small household appliances, stereos and DVD players. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "The list of electronics Californians must pay to recycle could get much longer," 31 May 2018 Inside the apartments, there is six-inch-wide white oak plank flooring; custom white oak cabinets, Tundra Grey marble and Miele appliances in the kitchen; and bookmatched Montclair Danby marble in the master bathrooms and powder rooms. Tim Mckeough, New York Times, "A New 25-Story Tower on City Hall Park," 10 May 2018 The new small appliances are a coffee machine, hand blender, and four-slice toaster; next to come will be a blender, espresso machine, stand mixer, and slow juicer. Selina Cheah, Curbed, "Dolce & Gabbana’s vibrant appliance line for Smeg expands again," 18 Apr. 2018 The most basic of Toto’s washlet models rings in at $499, making it more in line with a lavish small appliance. Maria Teresa Hart, The Atlantic, "The Bidet's Revival," 18 Mar. 2018 Energy Star appliances in the kitchen and laundry room save money over time. Janet Eastman,, "On the market: Homes with green features. Happy St. Patrick's Day (photos)," 17 Mar. 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

12 Sep 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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