apply

verb
ap·​ply | \ ə-ˈplī How to pronounce apply (audio) \
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 How to pronounce applier (audio) \ noun

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

Mix the grout with water to the consistency of thick yogurt and apply it to the tile with a rubber grout float. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Your Quick and Dirty Guide to Tiling a Kitchen Backsplash," 26 Apr. 2019 Wrap ice in a cloth before applying it directly to your skin, or soak a washcloth in cold water or milk and place that on the burn. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of a Sunburn ASAP," 16 Apr. 2019 The book identifies four warning signs for leaders who might be willing to conduct power grabs and applies them to America’s current political situation. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 When recruiting for a mission—any self-identifying female can apply via the website—Penn and Gilliam are looking for relevant skills, as well as a plan for the participant to share the experience with their wider community upon the group’s return. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 My friends encouraged me to apply because of my long medical experience, but my husband feared the job would put me at risk. Amal Hamo, Teen Vogue, "I’m a White Helmets Volunteer Saving Lives in Syria With the Syria Civil Defense and the World Must Join Me," 19 Apr. 2019 Late last month, though, Putin gave a high-profile speaking slot at a meeting of his Fitness and Sports Council to a veteran gymnastics official who urged Russians to apply for more TUEs. James Ellingworth, The Seattle Times, "Russia warms to controversial TUEs after doping scandals," 12 Apr. 2019 Visit this website for more information on how to apply or nominate a family for consideration. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "HGTV Is Now Casting Families for 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'," 1 Apr. 2019 Don't Forget The Lips: The final step in Palvin's nightly beauty routine is to apply lip balm. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Barbara Palvin's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 28 Mar. 2019

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

8 May 2019

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 How to pronounce apply (audio) \
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 How to pronounce apply (audio) \
applied; applying

Medical Definition of apply

: to lay or spread on apply antiseptic to a cut

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More from Merriam-Webster on apply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with apply

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apply

Spanish Central: Translation of apply

Nglish: Translation of apply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apply for Arabic Speakers

Comments on apply

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