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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English aplien, applien, from Old French applier, (French appliquer), from Latin applicō (join, fix, or attach to); from ad + plicō (fold, twist together). See applicant, ply.


  • IPA(key): /əˈplaɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪ
  • Hyphenation: ap‧ply


apply (third-person singular simple present applies, present participle applying, simple past and past participle applied)

  1. (transitive) To lay or place; to put (one thing to another)
    to apply cream to a rash
    • 1697, John Dryden, Translation of Virgil's Aeneid:
      He said, and to the sword his throat applied.
  2. (transitive) To put to use; to use or employ for a particular purpose, or in a particular case
    Synonyms: appropriate, devote, use
    to apply funds to the repayment of a debt
  3. (transitive) To make use of, declare, or pronounce, as suitable, fitting, or relative
    We need to apply the skills we've learned to solve this problem
  4. (transitive) To put closely; to join; to engage and employ diligently, or with attention
    Synonyms: attach, incline
  5. (reflexive) To work diligently and attentively.
  6. (transitive) To address; to refer; generally used reflexively.
  7. (intransitive) To submit oneself as a candidate (with the adposition "to" designating the recipient of the submission, and the adposition "for" designating the position).
    I recently applied to the tavern for a job as a bartender.
    Most of the colleges she applied to were ones she thought she had a good chance of getting into.
    Many of them don't know it, but almost a third of the inmates are eligible to apply for parole or work-release programs.
    • 1974 August 7, Ronald A. Frank, “SP Seeks Approval for Coast-to-Coast Digital Net”, in Computerworld, page 15:
      Southern Pacific Communications Co. (SP) has applied to the FCC for approval of the first coast-to-coast digital data transmission service.
  8. (intransitive) To pertain or be relevant to a specified individual or group.
    That rule only applies to foreigners.
  9. (obsolete) To busy; to keep at work; to ply.
  10. (obsolete) To visit.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Cebuano: aplay

Etymology 2[edit]

apple +‎ -y.


  • IPA(key): /ˈæp(ə)li/
  • (file)


apply (comparative more apply, superlative most apply)

  1. Alternative spelling of appley