Application “Legally” Defined

The following definitions for “application” are taken from Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (6th edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and Webster’s Dictionary (1828):




Use, as the application of a drug; devoting to a purpose, as the application of payments. A request; a seeking, usually in the form of writing; a petition.

One of the most frequent uses of the term is in the law of insurance, it referring in that connection to the first step in negotiating a contract or policy of insurance, being a signed statement by the prospective insured wherein he requests the insurance and fills in such details concerning the risk as the insurer seeks by way of information upon which it will decide whether or not to accept the risk and issue a policy [Dickinson v. Bankers Life & Cas. Co. (Mo App) 283 SW2d 658].



  1. The act of making a request for something; the paper on which the request is written is also called an application; as, an application to chancery for leave to invest trust funds; an application to an insurance company for insurance. In the land law of Pennsylvania, an application is understood to be a request in writing to have a certain quantity of land at or near a certain place therein mentioned [3 Binn. 32; 5 Id. 151; Jones on Land Office Titles, 24].

  2. An application for insurance ought to state the facts truly as to the object to be insured, for if any false representation be made with a fraudulent intent, it will avoid the policy [7 Wend. 72].

  3. By application is also meant the use or disposition of a thing; as the application of purchase money.

  4. In some cases a purchaser who buys trust property is required, to see to the application of the purchase money, and if he neglects to do so, and it be misapplied, he will be considered as a trustee of the property he has so purchased. The subject will be examined by considering,

      1. the kind of property to be sold;

      2. the cases where the purchaser is bound to see to the application of the purchase money in consequence of the wording of the deed of trust.

  5. Personal property is liable, in the hands of the executor, for the payment of debts, and the purchaser is therefore exempted from seeing to the application of the purchase money, although it may have been bequeathed to be sold for the payment of debts [1 Cox, R. 145; 2 Dick. 725; 7 John. Ch. Rep., 150, 160; 11 S. & R. 377, 385; 2 P. Wms. 148; 4 Bro. C. C. 136; White’s L. C. in Eq. 54; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 3946].

  6. With regard to real estate, which is not a fund at law for the payment of debts, except where it is made so by act of assembly, or by direction in the will of the testator or deed of trust, the purchaser from an executor or trustee may be liable for the application of the purchase money. And it will now be proper to consider the cases where such liability exists.

  7. Upon the sale of real estate, a trustee in whom the legal title is vested, can it law give a valid discharge for the purchase money, because he is the owner at law. In equity, on the contrary, the persons among whom the produce of the sale is to be distributed are considered the owners; and a purchaser must obtain a discharge from them, unless the power of giving receipts is either expressly or by implication given to the trustees to, give receipts for the purchase money. It is, for this reason, usual to provide in wills and trust deeds that the purchaser shall not be required to see to the application of the purchase money.



A putting to, placing before, preferring a request or petition to or before a person. The act of making a request for something.

A written request to have a certain quantity of land at or near a certain specified place [Biddle v. Dougal, 5 Bin. (Pa.) 151].

A bringing together, in order to ascertain some relation or establish some connection; as the application of a rule or principle to a case or fact.

In insurance, the preliminary request, declaration, or statement made by a party applying for an insurance on life, or against fire.

Of purchase money, the disposition made of the funds received by a trustee on a sale of real estate held under a trust.

Of payments, appropriation of a payment to some particular debt; or the determination to which of several demands a general payment made by a debtor to his creditor shall be applied.



APPLICA’TION, n. [Latin, applicatio; see APPLY].

  1. The act of laying on; as the application of emollients to a diseased limb.

  2. The thing applied; as, the pain was abated by the application.

  3. The act of making request or soliciting; as, he made application to a court of chancery.

  4. The act of applying as means; the employment of means; as children may be governed by a suitable application of rewards and punishments. This is the first signification directed to moral objects.

  5. The act of fixing the mind; intenseness of thought; close study; attention; as, to injure the health by application to study.

    Had his application been equal to his talents, his progress might have been greater.

  6. The act of directing or referring something to a particular case, to discover or illustrate the agreement or disagreement; as, I make the remark and leave you to make the application.

  7. In theology, the act by which the merits of Christ are transferred to man, for his justification/

  8. In geometry, a division for applying one quantity to another, whose areas, but not figures, shall be the same; or the transferring a given line into a circle or other figure, so that its ends shall be in the perimeter of the figure.

  9. In sermons, that part of the discourse, in which the principles before laid down and illustrated, are applied to practical uses.

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