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application (n.)

early 15c., "the bringing of something to bear on something else," from Old French aplicacion (14c.), from Latin applicationem (nominative applicatio) "a joining to, an attaching oneself to; relation of a client to a patron," noun of action from past-participle stem of applicare "attach to, join, connect," from ad "to" (see ad-) + plicare "to fold" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait").

Meaning "sincere hard effort" is from c. 1600. Meaning "a formal request to be hired for a job or paid position" is by 1851. Computer sense "program designed to carry out specific tasks or solve specific problems within a larger system" is a shortening of application program (1969).

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Definitions of application from WordNet

application (n.)
the act of bringing something to bear; using it for a particular purpose;
he advocated the application of statistics to the problem
a novel application of electronics to medical diagnosis
Synonyms: practical application
application (n.)
a verbal or written request for assistance or employment or admission to a school;
December 31 is the deadline for applications
application (n.)
the work of applying something;
a complete bleach requires several applications
the doctor prescribed a topical application of iodine
Synonyms: coating / covering
application (n.)
a program that gives a computer instructions that provide the user with tools to accomplish a task;
he has tried several different word processing applications
Synonyms: application program / applications programme
application (n.)
liquid preparation having a soothing or antiseptic or medicinal action when applied to the skin;
Synonyms: lotion
application (n.)
a diligent effort;
it is a job requiring serious application
Synonyms: diligence
application (n.)
the action of putting something into operation;
the application of indexes to tables of data
massage has far-reaching medical applications
the application of maximum thrust
From wordnet.princeton.edu