2

I have a question about the meaning of the phrase "apply to" in this wiki article:

The auctioneer paid the cost and kept up to 10% of the sale price, and the rest of the proceeds must be applied to the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.

The usage in the wiki article has the pattern "apply one kind of money to another kind of money", which I don't quite understand. Am I wrong?

7
  • Kaczynsky was ordered to pay $15 mn to his victims (in restitution). The sale of his belongings generated some revenue. This revenue will be used to pay money to his victims, under this $15 mn obligation. – CowperKettle Dec 23 '15 at 7:46
  • @CopperKettle Is there a dictionary definition of "apply" that fits this usage? – meatie Dec 23 '15 at 8:19
  • I've got no idea. – CowperKettle Dec 23 '15 at 8:22
  • 1
    Yes, there is a dictionary definition for the same. Check the (2) definition for apply in thefreedictionary.com/apply – Varun Nair Dec 23 '15 at 8:23
  • 1
    Apply : "To put to or adapt for a special use: applies all her money to her mortgage." – Varun Nair Dec 23 '15 at 8:23
6

The usage in the wiki article has the pattern "apply one kind of money to another kind of money",

The money is not being applied to another kind of money, it is being applied to a debt. An obligation.

Here is an alternate definition of 'Apply':

To put to use

Substituting, we get the sentence

The auctioneer paid the cost and kept up to 10% of the sale price, and the rest of the proceeds must be put to use to the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.

How do you put money to use? By buying things, or paying off debts. So, this money is being put to use to pay off a debt. Here is a slight paraphrasing

The auctioneer paid the cost and kept up to 10% of the sale price, and the rest of the proceeds must be put to use to pay off the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.

2
  • Would this rewrite of the original: "... the rest of the proceeds must be applied to the payment of the $15 million in restitution..." , be better? – meatie Dec 23 '15 at 8:42
  • @meatie That one or the original both sound pretty natural and clear to me. Now that I look at it, I think both of my rewrites would sound strange out loud. – James Dec 23 '15 at 8:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.