- 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 for apply on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for applies
The injunction, she argued, only applies to these four plaintiffs—not to anyone else.The Back Alley, Low Blow-Ridden Fight to Stop Gay Marriage in Florida Is Finally Over
January 5, 2015
In particular, it applies to immigrants who lost their U.S. citizenship after their involvement in World War II was discovered.Nazis, Sunscreen, and Sea Gull Eggs: Congress in 2014 Was Hella Productive
December 29, 2014
He said something that applies to cops of whatever race in whatever jurisdiction.The Cleveland Cops Who Fired 137 Shots and Cried Victim
December 2, 2014
But thanks to a 1997 Supreme Court decision, it only applies to the federal government, not the states.RFRA Madness: What’s Next for Anti-Democratic ‘Religious Exemptions’
November 16, 2014
There is a mini-salon station that applies sparkles onto willing attendees nails.Explosion of Cute: Inside the Superfan Mania of Hello Kitty Con 2014
Sarah Bay Williams
November 2, 2014
Now, this applies only so far as individuals are indicated, and it is so far right.
The same principle (by the way) applies to the difficult problem of wives.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
This applies to individuals just as truly as it does to mankind.Albert Durer
T. Sturge Moore
That applies especially to concepts borrowed of the white men.The Forest
Stewart Edward White
What Mrs. Chisholm described to Mrs. Stowe as the secret of her success, applies to all life.Self-Help
- (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 applies
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.