WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
ap•ply /əˈplaɪ/USA pronunciation   v.,  -plied, -ply•ing. 
  1. to make use of as relevant or suitable:[+ object + to + object]applied the theory to the problem.
  2. to be relevant;
    to pertain;
    to be suitable:[no object]The theory doesn't apply in this case.
  3. to put to use;
    put into effect:[+ object]to apply the brakes.
  4. to designate as appropriate:[+ object + to + object]Don't apply any such term to me.
  5. [+ object + to + object] to assign to a specific purpose: He applied part of his salary to savings.
  6. to devote (oneself) to:[+ oneself + to + object]I tried to apply myself to the job.
  7. to lay or spread on: [+ object + to + object]She applied the paint to the wall.[no object]This paint applied easily.
  8. to bring into contact:[+ object + to + object]to apply a match to gunpowder.
  9. to make an application or request: [+ to + object]She applied to several colleges.[+ for + object]He applied for the job.
ap•pli•er, n. [countable]

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
ap•ply  (ə plī),USA pronunciation v.,  -plied, -ply•ing. 
  1. to make use of as relevant, suitable, or pertinent:to apply a theory to a problem.
  2. to put to use, esp. for a particular purpose:to apply pressure to open a door.
  3. to bring into action;
    employ:He applied the brakes and skidded to a stop.
  4. to use a label or other designation:Don't apply any such term to me.
  5. to use for or assign to a specific purpose:He applied a portion of his salary each week to savings.
  6. to put into effect:They applied the rules to new members only.
  7. to devote or employ diligently or with close attention:to apply one's mind to a problem; to apply oneself to a task.
  8. to place in contact with;
    lay or spread on:to apply paint to a wall; to apply a bandage to a wound.
  9. to bring into physical contact with or close proximity to:to apply a match to gunpowder.
  10. to credit to, as an account:to apply $10 to his account at the store.

  1. to be pertinent, suitable, or relevant:The argument applies to the case. The theory doesn't apply.
  2. to make an application or request;
    ask:to apply for a job; to apply for a raise.
  3. to lay or spread on:The plastic coating is easy to apply on any surface.
  4. to be placed or remain in contact:This paint doesn't apply very easily.
ap•plia•ble, adj. 
ap•plia•ble•ness, n. 
ap•plia•bly, adv. 
ap•plier, n. 
  • Latin applicāre, equivalent. to ap- ap-1 + plicāre to fold; see ply2
  • Anglo-French, Old French ap(p)lier
  • Middle English ap(p)lien 1350–1400
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged utilize.
    • 5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged appropriate, allot, assign, dedicate.
    • 12.See corresponding entry in Unabridged petition, sue, entreat.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

apply /əˈplaɪ/ vb ( -plies, -plying, -plied)
  1. (transitive) to put to practical use; utilize; employ
  2. (intransitive) to be relevant, useful, or appropriate
  3. (transitive) to cause to come into contact with; put onto
  4. (intransitive) often followed by for: to put in an application or request
  5. (transitive) often followed by to: to devote (oneself, one's efforts) with diligence
  6. (transitive) to bring into operation or use: the police only applied the law to aliens
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French aplier, from Latin applicāre to attach to

apˈplier n

'apply' also found in these entries:

Word of the day: spare | scale


Report an inappropriate ad.
Become a WordReference Supporter to view the site ad-free.