• synonyms


[ap-uh-rat-uhs, -rey-tuhs]
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noun, plural ap·pa·rat·us, ap·pa·rat·us·es.
  1. a group or combination of instruments, machinery, tools, materials, etc., having a particular function or intended for a specific use: Our town has excellent fire-fighting apparatus.
  2. any complex instrument or mechanism for a particular purpose.
  3. any system or systematic organization of activities, functions, processes, etc., directed toward a specific goal: the apparatus of government; espionage apparatus.
  4. Physiology. a group of structurally different organs working together in the performance of a particular function: the digestive apparatus.
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Origin of apparatus

1620–30; < Latin apparātus equipment, orig. the act of equipping, preparation, equivalent to apparā(re) to prepare (ap- ap-1 + parāre; see prepare) + -tus suffix of v. action

Synonyms for apparatus

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for apparatus

gear, means, appliance, mechanism, machine, machinery, device, gizmo, hierarchy, bureaucracy, network, structure, jigger, doodad, gimmick, paraphernalia, dingbat, supplies, contraption, widget

Examples from the Web for apparatus

Contemporary Examples of apparatus

Historical Examples of apparatus

British Dictionary definitions for apparatus


noun plural -ratus or -ratuses
  1. a collection of instruments, machines, tools, parts, or other equipment used for a particular purpose
  2. a machine having a specific functionbreathing apparatus
  3. the means by which something operates; organizationthe apparatus of government
  4. anatomy any group of organs having a specific function
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Word Origin for apparatus

C17: from Latin, from apparāre to make ready
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

Word Origin and History for apparatus


1620s, from Latin apparatus "tools, implements, equipment; preparation, a preparing," noun of state from past participle stem of apparare "prepare," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + parare "make ready" (see pare).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

apparatus in Medicine


(ăp′ə-rātəs, -rătəs)
n. pl. apparatus
  1. An integrated group of materials or devices used for a particular purpose.
  2. A group or system of organs that collectively performs a specific function or process.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.