• IPA: /əˈplaɪəns/


  1. An implement, an instrument or apparatus designed (or at least used) as a means to a specific end (often specified), especially:
    • circa 1597 William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act III, Scene 1,
      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, 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, The Grapes of Wrath (novel), New York: Viking, Chapter 3, p. 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.
      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.
    Synonyms: application
    • 1658, Elias Ashmole, The Way to Bliss, London: Nath. Brook, Book 2, Chapter 2 “Of Health,” p. 75,
      […] 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, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (novel), Chapter 16,
      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
    • circa 1600 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 3,
      […] Diseases desperate grown
      By desperate appliance are reliev’d,
      Or not at all.
    • 1617, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, A Fair Quarrel, 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.
    • circa 1775 Thomas Hull (actor), Moral Tales in Verse, London: George Cawthorn, 1797, Volume 2, “The Advantages of Repentance,” pp. 161-162,
      With charitable care
      They rais’d him up, and, by appliance meet,
      Quicken’d the pulse, and bade it flow anew.
    • 1867, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (translator), The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, Canto 30,
      So low he fell, that all appliances
      For his salvation were already short,
      Save showing him the people of perdition.
  4. (obsolete, rare) Willing service, willingness to act as someone wishes.
    Synonyms: compliance
    • circa 1602 William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act II, Scene 1,
      And hearing your high majesty is touch’d
      With that malignant cause wherein the honour
      Of my dear father’s gift stands chief in power,
      I come to tender it and my appliance
      With all bound humbleness.
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