[uh-plahy-uh ns]


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), ap·pli·anced, ap·pli·anc·ing.

to equip with appliances: a fully applianced kitchen.

Origin of appliance

First recorded in 1555–65; apply + -ance
Related formsre·ap·pli·ance, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for appliance

device, instrument, gadget, tool, implement, apparatus, mechanism

Examples from the Web for appliance

Contemporary Examples of appliance

Historical Examples of appliance

  • 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

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

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

appliance in Medicine




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.