What is Equipment? Definition and examples

The word Equipment may refer to machinery, devices, instruments, tools, and sports gear. Things that we use to perform various activities or tasks are typically pieces of equipment.

Items of equipment vary in size considerably, from tiny screwdrivers to giant cranes used by the construction industry. They may be automated, manual, simple, complex, and can serve many different functions.

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“Equipment most commonly refers to a set of tools or other objects commonly used to achieve a particular objective.” (Quote: Wikipedia)

Equipment – an uncountable noun

Uncountable nouns cannot be counted as individual units. Examples include happiness, water, or equipment. I cannot say “one water, two waters, three waters, etc.” However, I can say “one glass of water, two glasses of water, etc.” because the word glass is a countable noun.

I cannot say “one equipment, two equipments..,” but I can say “one piece of equipment, two pieces of equipment, etc.” because piece is a countable noun.

  • Uncountable nouns have no plural form

Uncountable nouns have no plural form. I cannot say “a lot of waters,” but I can say “a lot of water.” In that same way, I cannot say “a lot of equipments,” or “many equipments”, but I can say “a lot of equipment.”

If I want to use the plural form with the word equipment, I need to add another noun, as in “many pieces of equipment.”

Examples of where we can find equipment

  • Manufacturing

Examples of equipment in manufacturing include lathes, drills, presses, and conveyors. Manufacturing is the process of converting components and/or raw materials into finished products.

  • Sports

Gloves, helmets, bats, shin-pads, and balls are examples of equipment for baseball or cricket.

  • Business

In the world of business, equipment refers to anything that helps us do our work, such as computers, printers, smartphones, photocopiers, modems, shredders, security systems, and vehicles.

  • Labs, research, medical centers

We can find equipment in virtually every workplace. Scientists work with spectrometers, centrifuges, microscopes, telescopes, and test-tubes, i.e., scientific equipment.

The equipment that hospitals use are known as medical devices.

  • Military

The army, air force, and navy have personal equipment such as uniforms, helmets, sleeping bags, boots, etc.

Examples of combat equipment are tanks, machine guns, fighter planes, helicopters, rifles, ammunition, assault boats, night vision goggles, and missiles.

We can often interchange the terms equipment and machinery, although machinery typically includes larger items.

Etymology (origin) of the term ‘Equipment’

Etymology is the study of where words come from and how their meanings have evolved over time.

The word “EQUIPMENT” entered the English language in 1717, meaning “things equipped.” It was derived from the French word “ÉQUIPEMENT.”

The verb “ÉQUIPER” appeared in the French language in the 1520s and meant “to fit out.”

Historical linguists believe that “ÉQUIPER” originated from the Old Norse word “SKIPA,” which means “to arrange or place in order.”

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