( n., pl. apparati.) A thing that does something. Colloquially, often used simply as a synonym for "thingy". Used by scientists and doctors to create the illusion that their thingies are more important than other peoples' thingies, and that they ought to be given large sums of money so they can research these thingies. An apparatus is frequently a big black box to researchers: they can poke at it all day, and it certainly does stuff, but god only knows why or how. When researchers give up on finding out what a particular thingy does, they make up an imaginary function for it and go to lunch, as in the case of the "Golgi apparatus", which was named for the particular researcher who first suggested going to lunch without figuring out what the thingy in question did. Note that it retains the name apparatus as a warning tag, to discourage other researchers from studying it, and so doctors know not to expect it to do what anyone says it does.