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[uh-plahy-uh ns] /əˈplaɪ əns/
an instrument, apparatus, or device for a particular purpose or use.
a piece of equipment, usually operated electrically, especially for use in the home or for performance of domestic chores, as a refrigerator, washing machine, or toaster.
the act of applying; application.
Archaic. a measure; stratagem.
Obsolete. compliance.
verb (used with object), applianced, appliancing.
to equip with appliances:
a fully applianced kitchen.
Origin of appliance
First recorded in 1555-65; apply + -ance
Related forms
reappliance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for appliance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And, indeed, every means and appliance of bodily comfort was at hand.

    Hidden Hand

    Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
  • The appliance for lifting the bucket was of the most primitive type.

    Dwellers in the Hills Melville Davisson Post
  • This required drills, fuse-powder, and all the appliance of the quarry.

    Shadows of Shasta Joaquin Miller
  • So does every tool, appliance, and machine we use, and so do all the people with whom we interact.

  • No horses, after this appliance, were afflicted with sore backs.

    The Prairie Traveler Randolph Marcy
  • "Every appliance for making a good thing of it," said Mr. Burnet.

    Littlebourne Lock F. Bayford Harrison
  • Such an appliance would have been the delight of Master Gamain.

    The Hero of the People Alexandre Dumas
British Dictionary definitions for appliance


a machine or device, esp an electrical one used domestically
any piece of equipment having a specific function
a device fitted to a machine or tool to adapt it for a specific purpose
another name for a fire engine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for appliance

1560s, "action of putting into use," from apply + -ance. Meaning "instrument, thing applied for a purpose" is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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appliance in Medicine

appliance ap·pli·ance (ə-plī'əns)
A dental or surgical device designed to perform a therapeutic or corrective function.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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