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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Apply, v. Also: aply, applie, applay, apploy. [ME. aplie(n), applie(n), applye (14th c.), OF. aplier, L. applicāre.]

1. tr. To attach (esp. oneself) to a person, party, etc.c1420 Wynt. viii. 31 (the kynryk off Scotland how he mycht apply nere til his crown). 1507 Reg. Privy S. I. 220/2 (Margret has applyit … hir persone, landis, and gudis to Donald.). c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxv. 55 (I am applyit to ȝour opunȝoun). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 45 (the Chamaeleon applyit himself to all thir parteis). a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. xcviii. 84 (apply you ay to rycht and ressoun).

2. To devote to a certain purpose.1450 Edinb. B. Rec. 12 (under the payne of escheitt, to be applyet to the kirk wark). 1507 Reg. Privy S. I. 228/2 (that uther half to be appliit to Sanct Gelis werk). 1557 Stirling B. Rec. I. 71 (the twa part to be applyit to the provest). a1578 Pitsc. II. 23/2 (he tuik the money and applyit it to his awin use). 1627 Wemyss Chart. MS. (money applyit be me to the weill of my bairns).

b. To employ, make use of.a1578 Pitsc. I. 47/19 (to applay the dominiounis left be thair foirbearis); 202/33 (they durst nocht apply the same cause).

3. To direct (one's mind, etc.) to a task.a1500 Bernardus 263 (the mar thow art applyit to polisy). a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 687 (to caus men to pennans thaim applie). c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 67/18 (appliand all my understanding thairto). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 176/28 (all his Ingine he did apply to leir phisick). a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. cv. 21 (to that effect apply ȝour worde and deidis). 1596 Dalr. I. 116/9 (throuch lettiris, to quhilkes thay haue applyet thair studie).

4. To apply by interpretation.1490 Irland Mir. I. 62/7 (this knawlage was syn appliit to particulare thingis). 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 399 (to the sammyn purpos we may apply Horatius). 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 167 (thay places applyis the heretykis for thair awin purpose). 1556 Lauder Off. Kings 222 (it suld nocht be vnto prophane thyngs applyit).

5. To apply as a remedy.a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1341 (applye the plaster of pennans). c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 8/18 (medicyne is applyit to seike mennis bodyis). 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 129 (les nor this medicyne be applyit dewlie). 1596 Dalr. I. 111/2 (a certane medicine to be applyed to this Ill).

6. intr. a. To apply oneself; to incline, be inclined.c1475 Wall. xi. 296 (langar to byd he could than nocht apply). a1500 Henr. Fab. 2822 (the inclinatioun to guid or euill, as nature will apply). 1533 Bell. Livy I. 227/6 (clamoure of pepill applying to his opinioun). 15.. Clar. iii. 670 (we will apply to save ȝour life). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 23/22 (to counsall he applyit). a1578 Pitsc. II. 146/21 (he wald navayis apply to thair will and plesour).

b. To be applicable; to relate.a1499 Contempl. Sinn. Heading (the contemplacioun of synnaris appliand for euerilk day of the oulk).

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"Apply v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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