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

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

Made of cruelty-free and waterproof ink, the tattoos take only minutes to apply. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Inked by Dani Launched Temporary Versions of Celebrity Tattoos," 29 Nov. 2018 Here, the pressure from Congress is likely to push in the opposite direction from the company's protesting employees, with members of Congress encouraging Google to apply its technical prowess to strengthen the US military. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face lawmakers at a hearing next week," 28 Nov. 2018 To get the discount, just apply the code BFNOW at checkout, though be warned that there's a pretty long list of exclusions. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Black Friday has arrived at Monoprice with 20 percent off nearly everything, even sale items," 22 Oct. 2018 With its dense, uniform design, Coffey Park has proven the easiest place to apply a cheaper, faster production rebuild model. Susie Cagle, Curbed, "California’s changing fire country," 10 Oct. 2018 So the duo applied to study the planet with Hubble, and were awarded 40 hours of observation time with the iconic telescope. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Exomoon Found? Neptune-Sized World Possibly Spotted Orbiting Alien Planet," 3 Oct. 2018 My officers carry bleeding-control kits and learn how to apply a tourniquet and how to dress a wound with gauze. As Told To Beth Dreher And Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Our Kids Safe in School as the Gun Debate Rages On," 25 Sep. 2018 Presets are custom filters applied using Adobe Lightroom, a photo-editing tool. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 For the lip kit, Kylie chose a shade of metallic copper, that appears as a more natural nude when applied. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Unveiled Her Kylie Cosmetics Holiday Collection on Instagram," 14 Nov. 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

4 Dec 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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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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