To put to or adapt for a special use: applies all her money to her mortgage. To put into action: applied the brakes. To bring into nearness or contact with something; put on, upon, or to: applied glue sparingly to the paper. To devote (oneself or one's efforts) to something: applied myself to my studies. To be pertinent or relevant: a rule that applies to everyone. To request or seek assistance, employment, or admission: applied for unemployment benefits; will apply to college next year. See Synonyms at resort.