apparatus

[ap-uh-rat-uhs, -rey-tuhs]
noun, plural apparatus, apparatuses.
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.

Origin:
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


2. machine, appliance, device, contraption, contrivance.
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World English Dictionary
apparatus (ˌæpəˈreɪtəs, -ˈrɑːtəs, ˈæpəˌreɪtəs)
 
n , pl -ratus, -ratuses
1.  a collection of instruments, machines, tools, parts, or other equipment used for a particular purpose
2.  a machine having a specific function: breathing apparatus
3.  the means by which something operates; organization: the apparatus of government
4.  anatomy any group of organs having a specific function
 
[C17: from Latin, from apparāre to make ready]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

apparatus
1620s, from L. apparatus "equipment, preparation," n. of state from pp. of apparare "prepare," from ad- "to" + parare "make ready" (see pare).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

apparatus ap·pa·ra·tus (āp'ə-rā'təs, -rāt'əs)
n. pl. apparatus or ap·pa·ra·tus·es

  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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
They possess no nervous system or breathing apparatus, nor do they have limbs
  or the capacity to move.
The hook at the end of the stick was particularly well adapted to serve the
  purpose of a life-saving apparatus.
Now I want to know what a scholarly apparatus is.
The apparatus also makes use of a wide network of informers.
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