Definition of apply in English:



  • 1[no object] Make a formal application or request:

    ‘you need to apply to the local authority for a grant’
    [with infinitive] ‘a number of people have applied to vote by proxy’
    • ‘Anyone who is entitled to vote and isn't on the register already can apply to get on the Supplement.’
    • ‘Any voter who wants to vote but doesn't want to go to the station in person can apply to vote by post.’
    • ‘So media houses must apply to be registered, and furnish the government with certain details as requested on the forms provided.’
    • ‘The electorate can apply to cast their vote at elections and the Government is now considering options to expand the scheme.’
    • ‘Couples wishing to enter a civil union have to apply to the local registry for a licence.’
    • ‘You may apply to register only for the voting district in which you are resident.’
    • ‘Under its provisions, parties are able to produce and distribute their own version of the postal ballot form to apply to vote by post.’
    • ‘That might remove the need for applicants to apply to the appeal authority later on.’
    • ‘You have to apply to the Employment Appeals Tribunal within six months.’
    • ‘Women artists working in all disciplines are encouraged to apply and may request up to $2,000.’
    • ‘The chief state solicitor would then apply to the High Court for arrest warrants for the three, which would trigger a hearing of the court.’
    • ‘Health bosses will finally apply to register them with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.’
    • ‘She has contacted the Charity Commission to apply to be a registered charity.’
    • ‘In exceptional circumstances a child can instruct a solicitor to apply to the Court for the right to see their family, including their brothers or sisters.’
    • ‘In that case the petitioning creditor had agreed to apply to withdraw the petition on terms that the debtor paid off the petition debt by instalments.’
    • ‘Under the scheme, firms that apply to register before September 30 will not be penalised.’
    • ‘I decided not to apply to vote in the recent election.’
    • ‘Parents whose children have been rejected from their preferred schools can apply to appeals tribunals for the decision to reviewed.’
    • ‘Any volunteers who help gather signatures must be registered voters and must apply to volunteer.’
    • ‘Prosecution lawyers now have two or three days in which they can apply to appeal against the decision.’
    put in an application, put in, try, bid, appeal, petition, make an entreaty, sue, register, audition
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    1. 1.1 Put oneself forward formally as a candidate for a job:
      ‘she had applied for a number of positions’
      • ‘The Government allowed immigrants who had applied for asylum before that date to apply for work.’
      • ‘Likewise, appointments panels may see only three or four of the 200 candidates who have applied for a vacancy.’
      • ‘I applied for jobs I quite fancied, many more that I didn't but was supposed to, and at least once a year I had to apply for my own job.’
      • ‘Geraldton Secondary College's new Highbury campus principal was looking for a new challenge when she applied for the position.’
      • ‘The job will be offered to one of the 16 unsuccessful candidates who applied for the job last year.’
      • ‘Peter emerged successful over five other candidates who had applied for the position.’
      • ‘A total of 25 people applied for the job the next morning.’
      • ‘You have two candidates with similar credentials who have applied for one position.’
      • ‘She applied for a teaching position with little optimism and was thrilled when she was eventually told she had beaten off competition from younger applicants to secure the post.’
      • ‘As it turned out, none of them actually applied for the job, they were just put forward by their caseworker.’
      • ‘I applied for a job in that august educational institution known to locals as The Uni.’
      • ‘He said he had applied for an advertised post, failed to get the job but had then been contacted later on and invited to apply for a different post.’
      • ‘In 2000, when the airline hired stewardesses in South Korea, more than 700 young women applied for the positions.’
      • ‘And it will come as no surprise that a lot of candidates have probably applied for such position.’
      • ‘So he applies for the job and he's the only guy who's applied for the job so he gets it.’
      put in an application, put in, try, bid, appeal, petition, make an entreaty, sue, register, audition
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  • 2[no object] Be applicable or relevant:

    ‘prices do not apply to public holiday periods’
    ‘normal rules apply’
    • ‘Deductibles may apply to each claim and certain coverage may be limited.’
    • ‘Both branches of the doctrine apply to these claims.’
    • ‘The normal wear and tear rules apply to furnished holiday lettings.’
    • ‘Due to the crackdown on money laundering, stringent rules now apply to banks when customers do business involving even small sums of money.’
    • ‘Accelerated procedure is intended to apply to claims which are certified.’
    • ‘They think laws don't apply to them, rules were meant for them to break and everyone should move out of their way when the come through.’
    • ‘Check with your employer or plan administrator regarding the rules that apply to the qualified plan.’
    • ‘The scheme will apply to civil claims for faulty goods and services as well as personal injury claims and damage to property up to an agreed figure.’
    • ‘Such a situation would not apply to the appeal proposal.’
    • ‘Note that the bandwidth limit does not apply to requests originating from the same machine.’
    • ‘Parliament intended that the authorisation of relevant acts was to apply to existing demonstrations.’
    • ‘That free vote will apply to ministers and whips as well as to back-benchers.’
    • ‘If you then go, if you would, to the document that was given to me when I sought to find out the relevant rules that apply to lodging a group nomination.’
    • ‘But cops must play by rules which don't apply to international relations.’
    • ‘This noble mission, however, does not currently apply to people who seek only subjective perfection.’
    • ‘New federal ethics rules apply to all companies, regardless of size.’
    • ‘However, such relativism is self-refuting since what it states about knowledge must equally apply to that claim itself.’
    • ‘However, the extent to which these findings would apply to women seeking the presidency or vice presidency is unknown.’
    • ‘Parents probably have a few rules that apply to you, so respect that.’
    • ‘By his actions he has shown that he believes the normal rules do not apply to him.’
    be relevant, have relevance to, have a bearing on, bear on, appertain, pertain, relate, concern, be concerned with, have to do with
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    1. 2.1[with object] Bring or put into operation or use:
      ‘the oil industry has failed to apply appropriate standards of care’
      • ‘So while the navy will be recruiting fewer men and women, higher standards will be applied to those trying to join up.’
      • ‘But these safety standards are not applied to the aerial spraying in Colombia.’
      • ‘‘The ideas and innovations which have been brought together can be applied to any home,’ she said.’
      • ‘The same operation is applied to all of the elements of the structure by the simultaneous operation of the vector processors.’
      • ‘His Honour applied the appropriate civil standard of proof appropriately understood - and so on.’
      • ‘When productivity as an economic metric is applied to the whole operation, the welfare of the individual animal is ignored.’
      • ‘Until now, that provision has never been applied to efforts to bring terrorist criminals to justice.’
      • ‘You apply the appropriate standards of behaviour and again you consider all the circumstances.’
      • ‘The question is whether Australian standards should be applied to them.’
      • ‘The highest artistic standards would still be applied to the top groups and performers by their cognoscenti audiences and critics.’
      • ‘It was not appropriate to apply a higher standard than the ‘real possibility’ test.’
      • ‘By the mid-1890s, such rhythms were being applied to both the standard form of the march and to the song form.’
      • ‘Also, the mission must be applied to the facility operations and the camp priorities.’
      • ‘Standard precautions are applied to all patients being cared for in health care facilities, regardless of diagnoses.’
      • ‘A bootstrap method is then applied to estimate the standard deviations of the regression coefficients.’
      • ‘We applied an appropriate standard technique of administering the drug into a vein of the forearm.’
      • ‘European standards were applied to the development of the administration, the economy, culture and the army.’
      • ‘In short, trauma counselling is not a standard medicine to be applied to everyone regardless of need.’
      • ‘A conservative standard was applied to making equity determinations.’
      • ‘Every thief applies a standard of behavior towards others that he would never allow to be applied to himself.’
      administer, deliver, issue, discharge, deal, bestow, dole out, mete out
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  • 3[with object] Put or spread (a substance) on a surface:

    ‘the sealer can be applied to new wood’
    • ‘To control the growth of these organisms on boats, antifouling coatings are periodically applied to their surfaces.’
    • ‘Then the mixture is applied to a cleaned device surface and activated by ultraviolet light.’
    • ‘The method is similar to what is called dry fresco in Europe, as the paints are applied to a dry surface, not wet plaster as in true fresco.’
    • ‘The other, the sport condition, affects the way the oil is applied on the surface of the lanes.’
    • ‘Mould and mildew can be removed from bathroom surfaces by applying white vinegar.’
    • ‘Once the paint is applied to a surface, it should be able to stay there.’
    • ‘A thin covering of pure silver is applied to a base metal, often copper or nickel, by means of electrolysis.’
    • ‘Cleaning substances were applied to the faux mink, the faucets, the phone and the co-pilot's hands.’
    • ‘Clean both surfaces and apply a light coating of grease upon reassembly.’
    • ‘Densely rendered layers of pastel, mud and paint are applied to surfaces with images referencing the elements of fire, water, air and earth.’
    • ‘A mixture of bean paste and lime is applied to stencil patterns on the cotton before it is dyed with indigo.’
    • ‘The solution is to pressure wash the surface, then apply a cementaceous coating that reduces moisture absorption.’
    • ‘The first step is to prepare the surface by applying a mixture of mortar, sand and molasses.’
    • ‘The coatings are applied to the interior surface of the window.’
    • ‘An aluminum bronze coating is applied to one of the parts.’
    • ‘When used with insulated glass panels, the coating is applied to the outer surface of the inner skin.’
    • ‘A roller is used to apply ink to the surface, which adheres to the drawn lines, but is repelled by the rest of the damp surface.’
    • ‘An oily, fingerprint-like substance was applied to the recording surfaces of two discs.’
    • ‘After the film is applied to a surface, the emulsion particles coagulate a form a stable film.’
    • ‘Low emission coatings are applied to the inside surface which reduce heat loss through the glass.’
    put on, rub in, spread, smear, cover with, work in
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    1. 3.1 Use; exert:
      ‘smooth over with a cloth, applying even pressure’
      • ‘The blood stained the silken cloth as he applied pressure to the wound.’
      • ‘The practitioner's feet are used to apply pressure along the recipient's back, arms and legs.’
      • ‘In recent times, going on strike to apply pressure for any grievance in favour of employees has become the in-thing.’
      • ‘And, therefore, I feel now is the time to say we are against appeasement, and we have to apply pressure.’
      • ‘Using blended oils, the masseur skilfully used his palms and fingertips to apply pressure in a series of flowing movements across my body.’
      • ‘With college teachers and parents applying pressure on their wards to get high grades, soft skills such as communication and presentation have taken a backseat.’
      • ‘As well as finger pressure, practitioners may use elbows, knees and even feet to apply pressure or massage to the correct points.’
      • ‘He called on the Government to apply the maximum pressure on the commission to come to an early agreement so that those low-income farmers can be paid.’
      • ‘I mean, it's that same old thing about the supermarket check-out, where children will apply a lot of pressure to get their own way too.’
      • ‘Where education does not prevent or correct the situation, the Coalition employs advocacy and applies additional pressure.’
      • ‘By mechanically applying an even pressure over the body, the squeeze chair creates a calming effect without the terror and over-stimulation of human touch.’
      • ‘It is a very complicated process where we have to apply pressure.’
      • ‘The visitors had discovered what the home side had singularly failed to do in the first half, that long territory guzzling kicks using the wind and slope would apply the pressure.’
      • ‘I will not be applying any pressure on Liam, it will solely be his decision.’
      • ‘It's up to them to apply pressure on the government - and on the newspapers to which they subscribe - to stop the threat.’
      • ‘But we were applying such pressure and supporting each other well at that time - so scores were inevitable.’
      • ‘But when I apply pressure nothing comes out and the flames grow even more ferocious, enveloping the room in what might be a derelict tenement.’
      • ‘Pressure is constantly applied on school administrations to attract greater numbers or face stiff funding cuts.’
      • ‘They may be applying diplomatic pressure behind the scenes, but there comes a time when that is inadequate.’
      • ‘Aware that families missing loved ones are in more of a hurry than they are, experienced rebel negotiators have become expert in applying psychological pressure.’
      exert, administer, implement, use, exercise, employ, utilize, practise, put into practice, execute, prosecute, enact, carry out, put to use, bring into effect, bring into play, bring to bear
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  • 4apply oneselfGive one's full attention to a task; work hard:

    ‘for two years, she applied herself to her studies with dedication’
    • ‘I'm the kind of person that needs something to grasp my attention completely for me to apply myself fully - that's the good thing about my work, it's not at all taxing, so I can get away with less than 70% effort!’
    • ‘He said: ‘I want head teachers to be tough with teachers within their schools to make sure that the teachers are applying themselves to their tasks.’’
    • ‘Although I have finally been given a small piece of work to do (nothing crucial, generous deadline), I'm finding it hard to apply myself after such a long period of enforced inactivity.’
    • ‘His inability to apply himself to a given task, however, resurfaces in less than a fortnight.’
    • ‘Working under severe weather conditions, the cable party applied itself diligently to all tasks assigned by command.’
    • ‘From the Eagles' perspective, the run into the finals is going to be an absorbing affair, as August is traditionally the time when players apply themselves to the task in earnest.’
    • ‘Now that was a task I could apply myself to with relish.’
    • ‘Most of us at some point in our lives face difficulties that seem insurmountable, but we apply ourselves and struggle through.’
    • ‘The fact is girls study harder and apply themselves to tasks more.’
    • ‘But I'm quite sure you can only imagine the dedication with which we applied ourselves to the tasks in hand…’
    • ‘We know we are capable of beating a lot of teams provided we keep applying ourselves and working hard.’
    • ‘Your great interest in drawing anime characters demonstrates to me that if you try hard enough and simply apply yourself you can paint with the masters!’
    • ‘Girls, who tend to apply themselves harder, provide a steadying influence.’
    • ‘I know this may sound like a difficult challenge but if you apply yourself to the task you can get a modicum of enjoyment from the dross in your mailbox.’
    • ‘Rich in cultural capital and attuned to information and communication structures, they apply themselves assiduously to the task of self-fulfillment.’
    • ‘They have now played two consecutive games whereby they applied themselves for the full 100 minutes.’
    • ‘Hawks began at the double and applied themselves to the task at hand with vim and vigour, taking all the early ball and constructing an effortless try in the process.’
    • ‘But after the Thanksgiving break, she began to have trouble getting through her assigned reading and had to work harder to apply herself.’
    • ‘The court found that the professor's absence from his home institution for three days a week ‘clearly prevented him from applying himself full time to his scholarship and service at the University.’’
    • ‘For the next couple of weeks I shall be applying myself to this unfortunately necessary task.’
    be diligent, be industrious, be assiduous, show commitment, show dedication
    work hard, study hard, exert oneself, make an effort, spare no effort, try hard, do one's best, give one's all, buckle down, buckle to, put one's shoulder to the wheel, keep one's nose to the grindstone
    strive, endeavour, struggle, labour, toil
    pay attention, be attentive, commit oneself, devote oneself
    persevere, persist
    put one's back in it, knuckle down, use some elbow grease, get stuck in
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French aplier, from Latin applicare fold, fasten to, from ad- to + plicare to fold.