apply

verb
ap·​ply | \ə-ˈplī \
applied; applying

Definition of apply 

transitive verb

1a : to put to use especially for some practical purpose He applies pressure to get what he wants.

b : to bring into action apply the brakes

c : to lay or spread on apply varnish

d : to put into operation or effect apply a law

2 : to employ diligently or with close attention You should apply yourself to your work.

intransitive verb

1 : to have relevance or a valid connection This rule applies to freshmen only.

2 : to make an appeal or request especially in the form of a written application apply for a job

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Other Words from apply

applier \ -​ˈplī(-​ə)r \ noun

Synonyms for apply

Synonyms

address, bend, buckle, devote, give

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Examples of apply in a Sentence

For further information, apply to the address below. I applied in writing to several different companies. You must have a high school diploma for this job. High school dropouts need not apply. After applying a thin layer of paint to the wall and letting it dry, apply another coat. We applied the ointment to the cut. I washed my face and applied fresh makeup. Fertilizer was applied to the lawn every two weeks.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the motel on Wednesday morning, Isabella leaned across an ironing board toward a mirror on the wall, applying makeup. New York Times, "‘It’s Like Each Day Is a Year’: A Migrant Mother’s Wait for a Reunion," 13 July 2018 But what the statistics can't show is how perceptions shape who applies for admission. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Retro UW-Madison delivery van hits road with myth-busting facts, Babcock ice cream," 13 July 2018 Variations in national bankruptcy laws mean that different procedures can apply when winding up stricken banks in different countries. The Economist, "Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers," 12 July 2018 The robotic system automatically identifies the cow and applies a sanitizing teat spray before a robotic arm attaches the teat cup for milking. Smithsonian, "This Connecticut Farm Is Milking Cows for Data," 11 July 2018 Advice and tips from these sailors can also apply to other activities like camping, hiking and picnics. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "How 5 Port Huron-to-Mackinac racers feed sailboat crews," 13 July 2018 The safety rules would apply only in states that accept federal money to run their own OSHA programs. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018 Musicians can apply for grants from government agencies like the Australia Council for the Arts, helping them to fund tours and international opportunities without the pressure of labels and publishing advances. Billboard, "The Down Underdogs: Australian Alternative Artists on Making it Big in America and at Home," 13 July 2018 After that, the town can apply for additional grants to fund the program. Terace Garnier, Fox News, "NC town battles opioid epidemic by using robots to test people’s poop," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apply.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apply

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for apply

Middle English applien, from Anglo-French aplier, from Latin applicare, from ad- + plicare to fold — more at ply

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Statistics for apply

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apply

The first known use of apply was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for apply

apply

verb

English Language Learners Definition of apply

: to ask formally for something (such as a job, admission to a school, a loan, etc.) usually in writing

: to put or spread (something) on a surface, a part of the body, etc.

: to cause (force, pressure, etc.) to have an effect or to be felt

apply

verb
ap·​ply | \ə-ˈplī \
applied; applying

Kids Definition of apply

1 : to request especially in writing apply for a job

2 : to lay or spread on apply a coat of paint

3 : to place in contact apply heat

4 : to have relation or a connection This law applies to everyone.

5 : to put to use I applied my knowledge.

6 : to give full attention I applied myself to my work.

ap·​ply | \ə-ˈplī \
applied; applying

Medical Definition of apply 

: to lay or spread on apply antiseptic to a cut

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Comments on apply

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