noun, plural ap·pa·rat·us, ap·pa·rat·us·es.

  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.

noun plural -ratus or -ratuses

  1. a collection of instruments, machines, tools, parts, or other equipment used for a particular purpose
  2. a machine having a specific functionbreathing apparatus
  3. the means by which something operates; organizationthe apparatus of government
  4. anatomy any group of organs having a specific function

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).

n. pl. apparatus

  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.

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