apply

verb

ap·​ply ə-ˈplī How to pronounce apply (audio)
applied; applying

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
applier 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.
Recent Examples on the Web One of the first to try out the builder’s remedy was Cedar Street Partners, which applied to build affordable housing in the affluent Southern California city of La Cañada Flintridge. Kate Talerico, The Mercury News, 14 Apr. 2024 Council members unanimously approved the amendment, which applies to single-family homes and multi-family developments of three or fewer units. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Apr. 2024 Cid says she’s applied for a U visa, which provides legal residency and deportation protection for victims of crimes, and says she’s been granted a work permit while her application is pending. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 14 Apr. 2024 But there is language in it that prosecutors say is more of a catch-all, that it can be applied to any kind of obstruction of an official meeting. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2024 This article was generated by the Kansas City Star Bot, artificial intelligence software that analyzes structured information from TomTom and applies it to templates created by journalists in the newsroom. Kansas City Star Bot, Kansas City Star, 12 Apr. 2024 Overall, 18 people applied through the McPherson-Jacobson recruiting firm. Danny Shameer, arkansasonline.com, 2 Apr. 2024 Proceeds Other parties can apply for any funds leftover from the sale after the judgment has been repaid. Ben Wieder and, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024 Singh, who previously worked at Marvel and Boom! Comics, will now apply that same trade to the rapidly expanding publishing line. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apply.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English aplien, applien "to join, combine, use for a certain purpose, put to use (an expression, word), strive (to do something)," borrowed from Anglo-French aplier, applier "to put to use or operation, attach to oneself, conform, bend" (continental Middle French apploier, applier "to employ, put to use"), going back to Latin applicāre "to bring into contact (with), situate near, bring to bear (on), make applicable or relevant (to)," from ap- ap- entry 1 + -plicāre "to fold, bend" — more at ply entry 3

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near apply

Cite this Entry

“Apply.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apply. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

apply

verb
ap·​ply ə-ˈplī How to pronounce apply (audio)
applied; applying
1
a
: to put to use
apply knowledge
b
: to lay or spread on
apply a coat of paint
c
: to place in contact
apply heat
d
: to put into operation or effect
apply a law
2
: to give one's full attention
applied myself to the work
3
: to have relation or a connection
this law applies to everyone
4
: to make an application : make a request
apply for a job
applier noun

Medical Definition

apply

transitive verb
ap·​ply ə-ˈplī How to pronounce apply (audio)
applied; applying
: to lay or spread on
apply antiseptic to a cut

More from Merriam-Webster on apply

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