From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


Recorded since the 1560s. From the English apply +‎ -ance.


  • IPA(key): /əˈplaɪəns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪəns


appliance (countable and uncountable, plural appliances)

  1. An implement, an instrument or apparatus designed (or at least used) as a means to a specific end, especially:
    • c. 1596–1599 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
      To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude;
      And in the calmest and most stillest night,
      With all appliances and means to boot,
      Deny it to a king?
    • 1861, George Eliot, Silas Marner[1], Part 2, Chapter 16:
      [] Oh, the pipe! won’t you have it lit again, father?” said Eppie, lifting that medicinal appliance from the ground.
    • 1939, John Steinbeck, chapter 3, in The Grapes of Wrath[2], New York: Viking, page 20:
      [] sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and for the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt []
    1. A non-manual apparatus or device, powered electrically or by another small motor, used in homes to perform domestic functions (household appliance) and/or in offices.
      • 1978, Poly Styrene (lyrics and music), “Art-I-Ficial”, in Germ Free Adolescents, performed by X-Ray Spex:
        I know I'm artificial
        But don't put the blame on me
        I was reared with appliances
        In a consumer society
      Many house fires are caused by faulty appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines and dryers.
    2. An attachment, a piece of equipment to adapt another tool or machine to a specific purpose.
  2. (obsolete) The act of applying.
    Synonym: application
    • 1658, Elias Ashmole, The Way to Bliss, London: Nath. Brook, Book 2, Chapter 2 “Of Health,” p. 75,[3]
      [] there be three things, and every one full of under-branches belonging to this Art and way of Healing: The first is knowledge of the Diseases: the second is the Remedies against them: and the third of the appliance of Remedies; All which should be traversed in this Discourse.
    • 1849, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], chapter 16, in Shirley. A Tale. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Smith, Elder and Co., [], →OCLC:
      The attention to fashion, the tasteful appliance of ornament in each portion of her dress, were quite in place with her.
  3. (obsolete) A means of eliminating or counteracting something undesirable, especially an illness.
    Synonyms: cure, medicine, remedy
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii]:
      [] Diseases desperate grown
      By desperate appliance are reliev’d,
      Or not at all.
    • 1617, Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, A Fair Quarrel[4], London: I.T, act II, scene 1:
      Physician. Now I haue found you out, you are in loue.
      Jane. I thinke I am, what your appliance now?
      Can all your Paracelsian mixtures cure it,
      ’T must be a Surgeon of the Ciuill Law,
      I feare that must cure me.
    • c. 1775, Thomas Hull, Moral Tales in Verse, London: George Cawthorn, 1797, Volume 2, “The Advantages of Repentance,” pp. 161-162,[5]
      With charitable care
      They rais’d him up, and, by appliance meet,
      Quicken’d the pulse, and bade it flow anew.
    • 1867, Dante Alighieri, “The Divine Comedy”, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, transl., Purgatory[6], Canto 30:
      So low he fell, that all appliances
      For his salvation were already short,
      Save showing him the people of perdition.
    • 1861, Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage:
      The wife of the labouring man does rear her children, and often rears them in health, without even so many appliances of comfort as found their way into Mrs. Crawley's cottage; but the task to her was almost more than she could accomplish.
  4. (obsolete, rare) Willing service, willingness to act as someone wishes.
    Synonym: compliance


Hyponyms of appliance

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967