In this modern age, “tech” or technology is everywhere around us. It makes life easier and more convenient. So much so that it has become very difficult for us to survive without technology.
Forms of technology are the first thing we see when we wake up in the morning and often the last thing we see before we fall asleep. We take them everywhere we go, all the time. They do all kinds of things for us that before would seem impossible or magical. They make everything so simple that sometimes we forget how to appreciate them enough. They become invisible to our eyes. We barely see their impacts in our world.
Now, so much depends on types of technology -- whether they’re small or big, simple or complex, cheap or expensive.
Technology has many names. In each field or activity, technology has a different name. Today we are going to learn 12 of the most common:
Are you familiar with each and every one of them? Although all 12 words above are used to talk about things that we use to perform a task, their meanings and situations are not the same.
Of course 100% exact rules about these terms would be impossible, because they tend to overlap and sometimes one thing can fall under more than one category. In any case, it’ll be very practical to have more or less specific guidelines, to know their similarities and differences.
#1. Device = It has a clever design. It does a special job, for example taking measurements or controlling a machine. It may be manual or electronic.
Ex. temperature-control device, listening device, locking device, etc.
#2. Gadget = It also has a clever design. It is a small, handheld thing that does something useful or impressive.
A gadget has a practical use in our lives, but people often see them just as a new product or trend.
*Note: There are many ideas about the origin of the word “gadget.” It may have come from the French word gachette (which means certain parts of a machine) or from Gaget (the name of a person who once sold small versions of the Statue of Liberty) or it could have been a term used in the Navy.
Ex. calculator, cellphone, computer, watch, camera etc.
#3. Gizmo = Slang. This is another word for gadget. We often use this word when we forget or don’t know the exact name of the thing.
Ex. It’s the latest, must-have gizmo!
#4. Machine = It needs power to do a particular job. It’s usually large and can’t be moved or carried.
Ex. washing machine, steel cutter, fax machine, etc.
#5. Machinery = This means large machines especially. It’s an Uncountable Noun, so if you want to use this, you should add the word “piece.” This way: a piece of machinery / pieces of machinery
Ex. heavy machinery, industrial machinery, factory machinery, etc.
#6. Equipment (sometimes also called “tools”) = Things that we need to do a job or to finish it faster.
This is also an Uncountable Noun like “machinery,” so if you want to use this, you should add the word “piece.” This way: a piece of equipment / pieces of equipment.
Ex. x-ray equipment, data-processing equipment, dental equipment, heavy equipment, etc.
“Equipment” also means things that we use for a particular activity, so sometimes it can include clothes.
Ex. sports equipment, gym equipment, camping equipment, safety equipment such as helmet, kneepads etc.
#7. Tool = A small manually-operated thing. You hold it in your hand to do something physical, and it needs some skill to be used properly.
Ex. nail gun, glue gun, drill bit
ruler, sensors, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrench, etc.
#8. Appliance = Electrical and has a practical use inside the house.
*Note: This word is commonly used by companies. For example, they will say: “We make the world’s most reliable household appliances!”
Ex. fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave oven, freezer etc.
#9. Instrument = This word doesn’t mean musical instrument. An “instrument” is used to measure, record, or identify something. It’s also used by trained professionals for delicate, precise, or scientific work
Ex. medical instruments, laboratory instruments, weather instruments, scalpel etc.
#10. Implement = Objects with special shapes used for outdoor physical work, in agriculture and some building trades
Ex. plow, hoe, rake etc.
#11. Utensil = A fairly simple object used for jobs in a person’s house, especially in the kitchen
Ex. kitchen knife, spatula, fork, griddle, can opener, chopping block, corkscrew, pan, tray etc.
#12. Apparatus = A fairly complicated machine needed for a particular task or activity
Ex. breathing apparatus, life-saving apparatus, telegraphy apparatus etc.
Hope You Learned Something!
P.S. If you'd like to read an essay about technology, just click the link below: