Other forms: applied; applying; applies

Apply means to put on a surface, like to apply makeup to your face before work. Apply also means to ask in a formal way. Long before you applied the makeup, you had to apply for the job.

You can apply the word apply to many situations, including when you make use of something — like when you apply the brakes on a car. Apply also means to really put effort into a task, like to apply yourself to learning Greek or reaching the next level on your favorite video game. But then again, maybe those examples don’t apply.

Definitions of apply
  1. verb
    put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
    Apply a magnetic field here”
    “This thinking was applied to many projects”
    “I apply this rule to get good results”
    synonyms: employ, use, utilise, utilize
    practice, use
    avail oneself to
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    commit, consecrate, dedicate, devote, give
    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
    employ in a game or in a specific position
    use or move
    pull out all the stops
    use all resources available
    assign, put
    attribute or give
    use diligently
    address or apply oneself to something, direct one's efforts towards something, such as a question
    use inefficiently or inappropriately
    misapply, misuse
    apply to a wrong thing or person; apply badly or incorrectly
    use to one's advantage
    overdrive, overuse
    make use of too often or too extensively
    cannibalise, cannibalize
    use parts of something to repair something else
    recycle, reprocess, reuse
    use again after processing
    exploit, work
    use or manipulate to one's advantage
    exploit, tap
    draw from; make good use of
    extend, strain
    use to the utmost; exert vigorously or to full capacity
    exercise, exert
    put to use
    have benefit from
    travel or go by means of a certain kind of transportation, or a certain route
    use jointly or in common
    put to work, work
    cause to work
    apply in a manner consistent with its purpose or design
    fall back, recur, resort
    have recourse to
    skillfully utilize, process, or operate on
    exercise, work, work out
    give a workout to
    warm up
    cause to do preliminary exercises so as to stretch the muscles
    maximise, maximize
    make the most of
    consecrate, vow
    dedicate to a deity by a vow
    dedicate anew
    change a pawn for a better piece by advancing it to the eighth row, or change a checker piece for a more valuable piece by moving it to the row closest to your opponent
    put or confide something in a person or thing
    present or use over, with no or few changes
    make hay
    turn to one's advantage
    use to one's advantage
    exploit the power of
    get from the earth by excavation
    extract (something such as stones) from or as if from a quarry
    exploit excessively
    commercialise, commercialize
    exploit for maximal profit, usually by sacrificing quality
    exploit as much as possible
    overextend, overstrain
    strain excessively
    task, tax
    use to the limit
    avail, help
    take or use
    feed, prey
    profit from in an exploitatory manner
    computerise, computerize, cybernate
    control a function, process, or creation by a computer
    reclaim, recover
    reuse (materials from waste products)
    double up
    share a room or a bed designed for only one person
    combine into a common fund
    communalise, communalize
    make something the property of the commune or community
    put on a rack and pinion
    exploit, overwork
    work excessively hard
    seek or achieve an end by using to one's advantage
    exploit a skill or resource in order to get something of greater value
  2. verb
    avail oneself to
    apply a principle”
    synonyms: practice, use
    employ, use, utilise, utilize
    put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
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    adhere to or practice
  3. verb
    ensure observance of laws and rules
    Apply the rules to everyone”
    synonyms: enforce, implement
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    exempt, free, relieve
    grant relief or an exemption from a rule or requirement to
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    execute, run
    carry out a process or program, as on a computer or a machine
    carry out the legalities of
    cause (a computer) to execute a single command
    execute and deliver
    type of:
    compel, obligate, oblige
    force somebody to do something
  4. verb
    be pertinent or relevant or applicable
    “The same laws apply to you!”
    synonyms: go for, hold
    lend oneself
    be applicable to; as to an analysis
  5. verb
    be applicable to; as to an analysis
    synonyms: lend oneself
    go for, hold
    be pertinent or relevant or applicable
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    defy, refuse, resist
    elude, especially in a baffling way
  6. verb
    refer (a word or name) to a person or thing
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    type of:
    denote, refer
    have as a meaning
  7. verb
    ask (for something)
    “He applied for a leave of absence”
    “She applied for college”
    apply for a job”
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    put in, submit
    make an application as for a job or funding
    type of:
    bespeak, call for, quest, request
    express the need or desire for; ask for
  8. verb
    apply oneself to
    “Please apply yourself to your homework”
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    type of:
    commit, consecrate, dedicate, devote, give
    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
  9. verb
    give or convey physically
    synonyms: give
    give (as medicine)
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    apply (the tread) to a tire
    perform (a church sacrament) ritually
    breathe or blow onto as a ritual or sacramental act, especially so as to symbolize the action of the Holy Spirit
    type of:
    administer, allot, deal, deal out, dish out, dispense, distribute, dole, dole out, lot, mete, mete out, parcel out, shell out
    administer or bestow, as in small portions
  10. verb
    apply to a surface
    “She applied paint to the back of the house”
    synonyms: put on
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    dab, swab, swob
    apply (usually a liquid) to a surface
    apply to a surface
    cover, fill, fix or smear with or as if with gum
    put a dressing on
    put on cream, as on one's face or body
    put cold cream on one's face
    apply putty in order to fix or fill
    sponge on
    apply with a sponge
    clap on, slam on, slap on
    apply carelessly
    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered




DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘apply'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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