apply (oneself) to (something)

(redirected from apply themselves to)

apply (oneself) to (something)

To put forth effort toward some task or goal. Honey, if you would just apply yourself to your schoolwork, you would get much better grades. I refuse to apply myself to a losing proposition like this one. Why waste my time on something that will never get funding? I'm impressed with how much Greg has applied himself to this project.
See also: apply, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

apply oneself to something

to work hard and diligently at something. You should apply yourself to your studies. She applied herself to her work and the time passed very rapidly.
See also: apply, to

apply something to something

1. Lit. to put something onto the surface of something. Apply the decal to the surface of the glass. Apply the paint evenly to each surface.
2. Fig. to use something, such as force, effort, etc., on something or in the performance of some task. Apply more effort in your school work. An even greater effort has been applied to make sure we finish on time.
See also: apply, to

apply to someone or something

[for rules, laws, etc.] to affect someone or something; to be relevant to someone or something. Does this rule apply to me? These policies apply only to very large companies.
See also: apply, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

apply to

1. To attach something to the surface of something: You must apply the glue to the paper sparingly, or else the paper will wrinkle.
2. To put something to some special use: She applied all her income to the mortgage.
3. To be pertinent or relevant to someone or something: This rule applies to everyone; there are no exceptions.
4. To request or seek assistance, admission, or employment from some organization: I will apply to college next year.
5. To devote someone or someone's efforts to something. Used reflexively: In the summer I relaxed, but in the fall I applied myself to my studies.
See also: apply, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Let parents choose betimes, the vocations and courses they mean their children should take; for then they are most flexible; and let them not too much apply themselves to the disposition of their children, as thinking they will take best to that, which they have most mind to.
And so with pain and toil we have reached the end of one subject, but more remains to be discussed;--how and by what studies and pursuits will the saviours of the constitution be created, and at what ages are they to apply themselves to their several studies?
As to the Englishmen, I promised to send them some women from England, with a good cargo of necessaries, if they would apply themselves to planting - which I afterwards could not perform.
The great delight and energy with which the two young ladies apply themselves to these duties, turning up their skirts in imitation of their mother and skating in and out on little scaffolds of pattens, inspire the highest hopes for the future, but some anxiety for the present.
"Shame they can't apply themselves to something useful at that time in the morning."
That is because everything else is forgotten when they apply themselves to a task but only women have the ability to do more than one thing at a time.
Furthermore, it gave a large group of young people the opportunity to demonstrate how well they can apply themselves to the task of producing a show, how disciplined and organised they can be when they have a goal to achieve and good motivators, and what talent and enthusiasm there is within young people.
A pity this committee of MPs and peers cannot apply themselves to improving the lot of our pensioners.
"The players didn't apply themselves to try to stop a cup shock.
If the two governments apply themselves to acts of completion of the Good Friday Agreement then others must do likewise.'
But the soil chemist says rice farmers should be able to feed the masses without upsetting the climate if agronomists apply themselves to refining the methane-mitigation strategies he outlines in the July/August BIOSCIENCE.