What does apply mean?

Definitions for apply

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word apply.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. use, utilize, utilise, apply, employverb

    put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose

    "use your head!"; "we only use Spanish at home"; "I can't use this tool"; "Apply a magnetic field here"; "This thinking was applied to many projects"; "How do you utilize this tool?"; "I apply this rule to get good results"; "use the plastic bags to store the food"; "He doesn't know how to use a computer"

  2. apply, hold, go forverb

    be pertinent or relevant or applicable

    "The same laws apply to you!"; "This theory holds for all irrational numbers"; "The same rules go for everyone"

  3. applyverb

    ask (for something)

    "He applied for a leave of absence"; "She applied for college"; "apply for a job"

  4. put on, applyverb

    apply to a surface

    "She applied paint to the back of the house"; "Put on make-up!"

  5. lend oneself, applyverb

    be applicable to; as to an analysis

    "This theory lends itself well to our new data"

  6. give, applyverb

    give or convey physically

    "She gave him First Aid"; "I gave him a punch in the nose"

  7. practice, apply, useverb

    avail oneself to

    "apply a principle"; "practice a religion"; "use care when going down the stairs"; "use your common sense"; "practice non-violent resistance"

  8. enforce, implement, applyverb

    ensure observance of laws and rules

    "Apply the rules to everyone";

  9. applyverb

    refer (a word or name) to a person or thing

    "He applied this racial slur to me!"

  10. applyverb

    apply oneself to

    "Please apply yourself to your homework"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To APPLYverb

    Etymology: applico, Lat.

    He said, and to the sword his throat applied. John Dryden, Æn.

    Apply some speedy cure, prevent our fate,
    And succour nature ere it be too late. Joseph Addison, Ovid’s Met.

    God has addressed every passion of our nature, applied remedies to every weakness, warned us of every enemy. John Rogers.

    This brought the death of your father into remembrance, and I repeated the verses which I formerly applied to him. John Dryden, Fables, Ded.

    The profits thereof might be applied towards the support of the year. Edward Hyde.

    These glorious beings are instruments in the hands of God, who applies their services, and governs their actions, and disposes even their wills and affections. John Rogers.

    Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Prov. xxiii. 12.

    Every man is conscious to himself that he thinks; and that which his mind is applied about, whilst thinking, is the ideas that are there. John Locke.

    It is a sign of a capacious mind, when the mind can apply itself to several objects with a swift succession. Isaac Watts.

    I had no thoughts of applying to any but himself; he desired I would speak to others. Jonathan Swift.

    God knows every faculty and passion, and in what manner they can most successfully be applied to. John Rogers.

    She was skilful in applying his humours; never suffering fear to fall to despair, nor hope to hasten to assurance. Philip Sidney.

    Far away they spy’d
    A varlet running towards hastily,
    Whose flying feet so fast their way apply’d,
    That round about a cloud of dust did fly. Fairy Queen, b. ii.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Applyverb

    to lay or place; to put or adjust (one thing to another); -- with to; as, to apply the hand to the breast; to apply medicaments to a diseased part of the body

  2. Applyverb

    to put to use; to use or employ for a particular purpose, or in a particular case; to appropriate; to devote; as, to apply money to the payment of a debt

  3. Applyverb

    to make use of, declare, or pronounce, as suitable, fitting, or relative; as, to apply the testimony to the case; to apply an epithet to a person

  4. Applyverb

    to fix closely; to engage and employ diligently, or with attention; to attach; to incline

  5. Applyverb

    to direct or address

  6. Applyverb

    to betake; to address; to refer; -- used reflexively

  7. Applyverb

    to busy; to keep at work; to ply

  8. Applyverb

    to visit

  9. Applyverb

    to suit; to agree; to have some connection, agreement, or analogy; as, this argument applies well to the case

  10. Applyverb

    to make request; to have recourse with a view to gain something; to make application. (to); to solicit; as, to apply to a friend for information

  11. Applyverb

    to ply; to move

  12. Applyverb

    to apply or address one's self; to give application; to attend closely (to)

  13. Etymology: [OF. aplier, F. appliquer, fr. L. applicare to join, fix, or attach to; ad + plicare to fold, to twist together. See Applicant, Ply.]


  1. Apply

    In mathematics and computer science, Apply is a function that applies functions to arguments. It is central to programming languages derived from lambda calculus, such as LISP and Scheme, and also in functional languages. In particular, it has a role in the study of the denotational semantics of computer programs, because it is a continuous function on complete partial orders. In category theory, Apply is important in Cartesian closed categories, where it is a universal morphism, right adjoint to currying.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Apply

    ap-plī′, v.t. to lay or put to: to administer a remedy: to bring a general law to bear on particular circumstances: (obs.) to ascribe: to employ: to fix the mind on: to bring (a ship) to land.—v.i. to suit or agree: to have recourse to: to make request: (Milton) to assign or impute blame to:—pr.p. apply′ing; pa.p. applīed′.—adj. Applī′able, that may be applied: compliant, well disposed.—ns. Applī′ableness; Applī′ance, anything applied: means used: (Shak.) compliance.—ns. Applicabil′ity, Ap′plicableness.—adj. Ap′plicable, that may be applied: suitable.—adv. Ap′plicably.—n. Ap′plicant, one who applies: a petitioner.—adj. Ap′plicate, put to practical use, applied.—n. Applicā′tion, the act of applying, e.g. the administration of a remedy: diligence: employment, use of anything in special regard to something else, as in the 'application' of a story to real life, the lesson or moral of a fable: close thought or attention: request: a kind of needlework, appliqué: (obs.) compliance.—adj. Ap′plicative, put into actual use in regard to anything: practical.—adj. and n. Ap′plicatory, having the property of applying. [O. Fr. aplier—L. applicāre, ātumad, to, plicāre, -ātum, to fold.]

Editors Contribution

  1. apply

    To use for a specific purpose.

    They did apply the law of logic and progression when deciding they would let go of their application forms as part of their interview process.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'apply' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1318

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'apply' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1464

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'apply' in Verbs Frequency: #116

How to pronounce apply?

How to say apply in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of apply in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of apply in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of apply in a Sentence

  1. Mwanandeke Kindembo:

    In my whole life, when I started to apply logic to solve several challenges, I have dedicated myself to the service of the many.

  2. John Bosse:

    He said, 'I was born here, I lived here my whole life, I refuse to leave Great Barrington, an individual cannot knowingly place themselves in a position of imminent danger and then apply the necessity defense.

  3. Dave Shein:

    We try them as year-old wines, we try them as 2-year-old wines, and we evaluate every single one of them critically, both for the winemaking decisions and for the vineyard management decisions, to help us make better decisions as we go forward, every year, it’s a fresh start, and you can apply everything you’ve learned in the previous cycles to help make the next one better. We always say we have yet to make our best bottle of wine.

  4. Larry Gatlin:

    While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that, while background checks would not stop every madman with a gun, it is at the very least a step in the right direction toward trying to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde — in my beloved, weeping TEXAS, i'm Larry Gatlin, but the 2nd Amendment should not apply to everyone. It's that simple.

  5. Dan Bosch:

    A federal agency sunsetting its own regulations on this scale would be unprecedented, and this would apply to a few thousand regulations, or more, but agencies are supposed to do this anyway. They're supposed to review their old rules to make sure we're getting the benefits we were expecting.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for apply

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • انطبق على, طبّق علىArabic
  • употребявам, прилагам, кандидатствамBulgarian
  • ansøgeDanish
  • anwenden, bewerben, benutzen, verwendenGerman
  • ισχύουνGreek
  • kandidatigi, aplikiEsperanto
  • aplicar, aplicarse, optar, utilizar, emplear, presentarseSpanish
  • درخواست دادن, بکار بردنPersian
  • altistaa, hakea, kääntyä jonkun puoleen, koskea, soveltaa, herkistää, uskoutua, panna, käyttää, asettaa, levittääFinnish
  • s'inscrire, appliquerFrench
  • jelentkezikHungarian
  • aplikarIdo
  • applicareItalian
  • 用いる, 申し込むJapanese
  • 지원하다, 쓰다, 대다, 적용되다, 적용하다, 쏟다, 신청하다, 기울이다Korean
  • ngakiMāori
  • gelden, toepassenDutch
  • aplicar-se, aplicar, candidatar-sePortuguese
  • заявлять, использовать, применяться, обращаться, прикладывать, прилагать, подавать заявление, подавать заявку, применять, приложить, употреблять, подать заявлениеRussian
  • gälla, söka, ansökaSwedish
  • விண்ணப்பிக்கTamil
  • uygulamakTurkish
  • 应用Chinese

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    • A. interrupt
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