Definition of apparatus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌapəˈreɪtəs/

noun (plural apparatuses)

1 [mass noun] The technical equipment or machinery needed for a particular activity or purpose: firemen wearing breathing apparatus
More example sentences
  • There would also be more discussions on matters such as better emergency training and equipment, including breathing apparatus for rail staff and the strengthening of drivers' cabs.
  • They will be wearing breathing apparatus and protective equipment.
  • We were then shown all the various equipment, apparatus and tools aboard the engines, which have to be checked and cleaned daily.
equipment, gear, rig, tackle, gadgetry, paraphernalia;
appliance, instrument, tool, utensil, machine, mechanism, device, contraption;
hardware, plant, machinery
informal things, stuff
British informal gubbins
2The complex structure of a particular organization or system: the apparatus of government
More example sentences
  • Faced with centrally organized and bureaucratic state apparatuses, dissident actors can adjust organizationally, moving towards more networked forms of organization.
  • Serious art over the next period will come into greater and greater conflict with the framework of the profit system and its political apparatus.
  • It then undertook the dismantling of much of its socialist policy and organisational structure but not its political apparatuses - thereby earning derision on both counts.
structure, system, framework, organization, set-up, network;
hierarchy, chain of command
3 (also critical apparatus) A collection of notes, variant readings, and other matter accompanying a printed text: one thing about the book’s apparatus does irritate: the absence of an index of titles
More example sentences
  • A celebrated advantage of electronic editions of early modern literature is their capacity for representing multiple states of the text while avoiding a critical apparatus that relegates variants to footnotes.
  • So the reader must resort to the apparatus and notes to figure out what interpretation is driving a given modernization choice.
  • The novel needs a new order, a higher level, of thinking on the part of its readers, and at some stage of the not-too-distant future perhaps there should be a new edition with an apparatus of helpful notes.


Early 17th century: Latin, from apparare 'make ready for', from ad- 'towards' + parare 'make ready'.

  • This is a Latin word, from apparare ‘make ready for’, from parare ‘make ready’. Other words going back to parare include disparate (Late Middle English), ‘prepared apart’; pare (Middle English); prepare (Late Middle English) ‘prepare in advance’; and separate (Late Middle English) from se- ‘apart’ and parare.

Words that rhyme with apparatus

Donatus, hiatus, status

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ap¦par|atus

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