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[ap-uh-rat-uh s, -rey-tuh s] /ˌæp əˈræt əs, -ˈreɪ təs/
noun, plural apparatus, apparatuses.
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.
any complex instrument or mechanism for a particular purpose.
any system or systematic organization of activities, functions, processes, etc., directed toward a specific goal:
the apparatus of government; espionage apparatus.
Physiology. a group of structurally different organs working together in the performance of a particular function:
the digestive apparatus.
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
2. machine, appliance, device, contraption, contrivance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for apparatus
  • 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.
  • Scientists have reported that by bombarding a liquid with sound they were able to produce nuclear fusion in a tabletop apparatus.
  • Youngsters learn more when they design and build the apparatus they need for experiment.
  • Most of the complication comes in the footnotes, where both comment and critical apparatus are offered in abundance.
  • The only hope for workers is then to take control of the political apparatus.
  • Yet the pervasiveness and lack of accountability of the security apparatus has had a smothering effect.
  • And an effective intelligence apparatus would make all of them obsolete.
British Dictionary definitions for apparatus


/ˌæpəˈreɪtəs; -ˈrɑːtəs; ˈæpəˌreɪtəs/
noun (pl) -ratus, -ratuses
a collection of instruments, machines, tools, parts, or other equipment used for a particular purpose
a machine having a specific function: breathing apparatus
the means by which something operates; organization: the apparatus of government
(anatomy) any group of organs having a specific function
Word Origin
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
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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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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apparatus in Medicine

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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