having a practical purpose or use; derived from or involved with actual phenomena (distinguished from theoretical, opposed to pure): applied mathematics; applied science.
of or relating to those arts or crafts that have a primarily utilitarian function, or to the designs and decorations used in these arts.

Origin of applied

First recorded in 1490–1500; apply + -ed2
Related formsun·ap·plied, adjectivewell-ap·plied, adjective



verb (used with object), ap·plied, ap·ply·ing.

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.

verb (used without object), ap·plied, ap·ply·ing.

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

1350–1400; Middle English ap(p)lien < Anglo-French, Old French ap(p)lier < Latin applicāre, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + plicāre to fold; see ply2
Related formsap·pli·a·ble, adjectiveap·pli·a·ble·ness, nounap·pli·a·bly, adverbap·pli·er, nounpre·ap·ply, verb (used with object), pre·ap·plied, pre·ap·ply··ap·ply, verb, re·ap·plied, re·ap·ply·ing.un·ap·pli·a·ble, adjectiveun·ap·pli·a·bly, adverb

Synonyms for apply Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for applied

Contemporary Examples of applied

Historical Examples of applied

British Dictionary definitions for applied



related to or put to practical useapplied mathematics Compare pure (def. 5)


verb -plies, -plying or -plied

(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
Derived Formsapplier, noun

Word Origin for apply

C14: from Old French aplier, from Latin applicāre to attach to
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for applied

"put to practical use," (as opposed to abstract or theoretical), 1650s, from past participle of apply. Earlier it was used in a sense of "folded" (c.1500).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper