[ uh-plahy ]
See synonyms for: applyappliedapplying on

verb (used with object),ap·plied, ap·ply·ing.
  1. to make use of as relevant, suitable, or pertinent: to apply a theory to a problem.

  2. to put to use, especially for a particular purpose: to apply pressure to open a door.

  1. to bring into action; use; employ: He applied the brakes and skidded to a stop.

  2. to use a label or other designation: Don't apply any such term to me.

  3. to use for or assign to a specific purpose: He applied a portion of his salary each week to savings.

  4. to put into effect: They applied the rules to new members only.

  5. to devote or employ diligently or with close attention: to apply one's mind to a problem;to apply oneself to a task.

  6. to place in contact with; lay or spread on: to apply paint to a wall;to apply a bandage to a wound.

  7. to bring into physical contact with or close proximity to: to apply a match to gunpowder.

  8. to credit to, as an account: to apply $10 to his account at the store.

verb (used without object),ap·plied, ap·ply·ing.
  1. to be pertinent, suitable, or relevant: The argument applies to the case.The theory doesn't apply.

  2. to make an application or request; ask: to apply for a job;to apply for a raise.

  1. to lay or spread on: The plastic coating is easy to apply on any surface.

  2. to be placed or remain in contact: This paint doesn't apply very easily.

Origin of apply

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English ap(p)lien, from Anglo-French, Old French ap(p)lier, from Latin applicāre, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + plicāre “to fold”; see ply2

Other words for apply

Other words from apply

  • ap·pli·a·ble, adjective
  • ap·pli·a·ble·ness, noun
  • ap·pli·a·bly, adverb
  • ap·pli·er, noun
  • pre·ap·ply, verb (used with object), pre·ap·plied, pre·ap·ply·ing.
  • re·ap·ply, verb, re·ap·plied, re·ap·ply·ing.
  • un·ap·pli·a·ble, adjective
  • un·ap·pli·a·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use apply in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for apply


/ (əˈplaɪ) /

verb-plies, -plying or -plied
  1. (tr) to put to practical use; utilize; employ

  2. (intr) to be relevant, useful, or appropriate

  1. (tr) to cause to come into contact with; put onto

  2. (intr often foll by for) to put in an application or request

  3. (tr often foll by to) to devote (oneself, one's efforts) with diligence

  4. (tr) to bring into operation or use: the police only applied the law to aliens

  5. (tr) to refer (a word, epithet, etc) to a person or thing

Origin of apply

C14: from Old French aplier, from Latin applicāre to attach to

Derived forms of apply

  • applier, noun

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