Definition of apparatus in English:


Syllabification: ap·pa·rat·us
Pronunciation: /ˌapəˈratəs, -ˈrātəs

noun (plural apparatuses)

  • 1The technical equipment or machinery needed for a particular activity or purpose: laboratory 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.
  • 2A complex structure within an 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, network
  • 3 (also critical apparatus or apparatus criticus) A collection of notes, variant readings, and other matter accompanying a printed text.
    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: from Latin, from apparare 'make ready for', from ad- 'toward' + parare 'make ready'.

More definitions of apparatus

Definition of apparatus in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody