Definition of apparatus in US English:



  • 1The technical equipment or machinery needed for a particular activity or purpose.

    ‘laboratory apparatus’
    • ‘Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus dragged a man from the inferno before using hose reels to douse the flames in a 70-minute operation.’
    • ‘Firefighters using breathing apparatus waded through thick, acrid smoke and intense heat after a neighbour said he believed the woman was still inside.’
    • ‘Cardiological equipment, surgical and orthopaedic instruments, respiratory equipment, and diagnostic apparatus are among the primary imports.’
    • ‘Brigade policy is that all facial hair must be within the empty space of a face mask and must not interfere with the wearing of breathing apparatus by coming into contact with the rubber surround.’
    • ‘About 30 firefighters, some of them wearing breathing apparatus, were needed to bring the flames under control.’
    • ‘Much of the distilling operation was lost including the newly acquired equipment and apparatus for the beginnings of the business.’
    • ‘Lucky for me I brought the full-faced respirator and self-contained breathing apparatus with me.’
    • ‘The landing craft was equipped with instruments for communication and analysis including radio equipment, scientific apparatus, and a television system.’
    • ‘That required a whole raft of equipment and apparatus to meet that designation.’
    • ‘Firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus, found the first floor smoke-logged and saw flames coming from the airing cupboard door.’
    • ‘Most include putting on self-contained breathing apparatus, getting hoses into place and using them to hit targets with water.’
    • ‘The procedures and apparatus required for extraction purposes are simple.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Original scientific equipment and apparatus will be displayed with the latest communication and exhibition technology.’
    • ‘He said: ‘Two of the firefighters had to go in wearing breathing apparatus.’’
    • ‘They will be wearing breathing apparatus and protective equipment.’
    • ‘Fire crews, using breathing apparatus, had to search the building and ensure no persons were either trapped or seriously injured by the blaze.’
    • ‘Six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus went into the smoke-logged building and had to force an entry into the rooms to make sure the building was evacuated.’
    • ‘We were then shown all the various equipment, apparatus and tools aboard the engines, which have to be checked and cleaned daily.’
    • ‘Officers wearing breathing apparatus used hand tools to break into the injured man's flat and rescue him from his bedroom.’
    equipment, gear, rig, tackle, gadgetry, paraphernalia
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  • 2A complex structure within an organization or system.

    ‘the apparatus of government’
    • ‘Jews were without a state for 1,878 years, yet developed administrative apparatuses to govern communal affairs and to interface with monarchies and state governments.’
    • ‘This creates a disjuncture of relative development, with the economy much more advanced in its global organization than either the apparatuses of governance or the patterns of human identity.’
    • ‘The union apparatus becomes an institutional structure within existing society.’
    • ‘As a result, the movement is both militant and careful because false steps and excessive aggression are severely punished by more brutal dictators and state security apparatuses than exist elsewhere.’
    • ‘Prior to this, the military apparatus, the judicial system, and the religious establishment were already in the hands of the conservative circles.’
    • ‘This change in the structure of the state apparatus itself has led to divisions among employers and within the Liberal-National Coalition.’
    • ‘To say that they have systemic power is to say that the logic of the social system itself affirms their interests quite apart from their conscious strategies and the internal organization of political apparatuses.’
    • ‘One forum is the liberal democratic party system and the bureaucratic apparatus of government.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The apparatus of local government is obviously much less complex than that of semi-independence.’
    • ‘They were also rejected by the bureaucratic apparatuses which took over first the social democratic and later, under Stalin, the communist parties.’
    • ‘We know that the government are reconfiguring the apparatus of the intelligence community to concentrate in these areas.’
    • ‘In other words, resistance is linked immediately with a constitutive investment in the biopolitical realm and to the formation of cooperative apparatuses of production and community.’
    • ‘Serious art over the next period will come into greater and greater conflict with the framework of the profit system and its political apparatus.’
    • ‘The history of the visual arts under Fascism includes the bureaucratic apparatus imposed by the regime, and the individual contributions of those who collaborated in varying degrees.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, the legal apparatus supporting the fiscal system recognized this oversight.’
    • ‘Faced with centrally organized and bureaucratic state apparatuses, dissident actors can adjust organizationally, moving towards more networked forms of organization.’
    • ‘The other, which was probably unintended though wholly predictable, has been to create a bureaucratic apparatus which has brought many strong men and women to their knees.’
    • ‘I said they continue to use some of the apparatuses of socialism to organise the state.’
    • ‘The party vowed to intensify the fight corruption within the state apparatus and the whole political system.’
    structure, system, framework, organization, set-up, network
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  • 3A collection of notes, variant readings, and other matter accompanying a printed text.

    • ‘So the reader must resort to the apparatus and notes to figure out what interpretation is driving a given modernization choice.’
    • ‘It does not help that the scholarly apparatus betrays an equally infirm commitment to rigour.’
    • ‘In these works, the most metaphoric and the most literal understanding of bibliographic apparatuses can be seen to underwrite the logic of their content as well as their form.’
    • ‘As stated before, the critical apparatus also benefits from recent research and developments in Valéry studies.’
    • ‘As one might expect, the most significant addition to this edition is the critical apparatus.’
    • ‘It has none of the apparatus of a study volume, and its conceptual vocabulary belongs to the sphere of ecumenists and ecclesiologists, not to a general audience.’
    • ‘I can testify that the bibliographical apparatus in many articles is unsatisfactory and out-of-date.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The terms hamartia and hubris should become basic tools of your critical apparatus.’
    • ‘His narrative of addiction doubles as a meta-critique on the compulsive desire to reproduce text and image that characterizes postmodern textualities as well as the apparatuses that produce them.’
    • ‘This repetition of the oath in the editorial apparatus suggests a critical dis-ease with the play's most embodied speech-act.’
    • ‘Well, I guess we weren't settled long enough to have all the apparatus that grows up around the writing of poetry.’
    • ‘For beneath their predictable monographic typefaces, layouts, and apparatuses, these books are not as comprehensive and conventional as they might appear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The music is discussed without music examples but the full apparatus of notes and a list of works is provided.’
    • ‘Their critical apparatus grinds into motion and, often many years later, buoyed by exegesis, the original at last rises to the surface.’
    • ‘The appeal of these poems, even separated from their apparatuses, is for me two-fold.’
    • ‘Furthermore, as noted above, a theory should generate its own apparatus whenever possible.’


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