- to make use of as relevant, suitable, or pertinent: to apply a theory to a problem.
- to put to use, especially for a particular purpose: to apply pressure to open a door.
- to bring into action; use; employ: He applied the brakes and skidded to a stop.
- to use a label or other designation: Don't apply any such term to me.
- to use for or assign to a specific purpose: He applied a portion of his salary each week to savings.
- to put into effect: They applied the rules to new members only.
- to devote or employ diligently or with close attention: to apply one's mind to a problem; to apply oneself to a task.
- to place in contact with; lay or spread on: to apply paint to a wall; to apply a bandage to a wound.
- to bring into physical contact with or close proximity to: to apply a match to gunpowder.
- to credit to, as an account: to apply $10 to his account at the store.
- to be pertinent, suitable, or relevant: The argument applies to the case. The theory doesn't apply.
- to make an application or request; ask: to apply for a job; to apply for a raise.
- to lay or spread on: The plastic coating is easy to apply on any surface.
- to be placed or remain in contact: This paint doesn't apply very easily.
Origin of apply
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for applying
But Cosby Truthers are applying their principles to the wrong cause.Phylicia Rashad and the Cult of Cosby Truthers
January 8, 2015
“You are applying Western metrics to someone who is not using that metric against you,” referring to ISIS, Bolger said.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War
Nancy A. Youssef
January 7, 2015
In fact, Sikhs are even discriminated against when applying to join the NYPD because of their turbans and beards.New York’s Sikhs Need Their Own Al Sharpton
August 8, 2014
Applying the apartheid label is incorrect—and is also confusing because it obscures the tyranny which is in force.Don’t Accuse Israel of Apartheid
July 17, 2014
He and his cohorts practiced “psychogeography,” taking maps of other cities and applying them to their own.Discovering Underground Labyrinths, Remote Cities, and More of the World’s Lost Places
July 8, 2014
And—perhaps you'd better not say you are applying until we find out if there is a vacancy.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Your applying, however, to Reginald can be productive only of good to all parties.Lady Susan
Mr. Corbet can be of little service to me at present; at least I should be shy of applying.The Letters of Robert Burns
Then it is iced by applying warm water with a bit of hairy deerskin.The Long Labrador Trail
I must, in applying for a place, give an account of my character and a list of my accomplishments.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- (tr) to put to practical use; utilize; employ
- (intr) to be relevant, useful, or appropriate
- (tr) to cause to come into contact with; put onto
- (intr often foll by for) to put in an application or request
- (tr often foll by to) to devote (oneself, one's efforts) with diligence
- (tr) to bring into operation or usethe police only applied the law to aliens
- (tr) to refer (a word, epithet, etc) to a person or thing
Word Origin and History for applying
late 14c., "to put (one's faculties, etc.) to some task or career," late 14c., from Old French aploiier "apply, use, attach" (12c., Modern French appliquer), from Latin applicare "attach to, join, connect;" figuratively, "devote (oneself) to, give attention," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + plicare "fold" (see ply (v.1)). The etymological sense is "bring things in contact with one another." Of lotions, from early 15c. Meaning "seek a job by submitting an application for one" is from 1851. A by-form applicate is recorded from 1530s. Related: Applied; applying.