apply - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participleapplying
past tenseapplied
past participleapplied
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to make an official request for a job or a place in a college or university, or for permission to do or have something

    We advertised three jobs, and over 50 people applied.

    apply for:

    Students can apply for money to help with their living costs.

    apply to:

    You have to apply to the passport office for a visa.

    apply to do something:

    Bill is applying to join the fire service.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to affect or be relevant to a particular person or thing
    apply to:

    The discount no longer applies to him, because he’s over eighteen.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to use a particular method, process, law etc
    apply something to something:

    A similar technique can be applied to the treatment of cancer.

    1. a.
      to use a particular name or word for someone or something

      In the past, unhelpful terms were often applied to children who were dyslexic.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to put a layer of something such as paint onto a surface
    apply something to something:

    Apply two coats of varnish to the table.

     Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    [transitive] formal to use physical force in order to make something happen or work