ap·​pre·​ci·​ate ə-ˈprē-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce appreciate (audio) -ˈpri- How to pronounce appreciate (audio)
 also  -ˈprē-sē-
appreciated; appreciating

transitive verb

: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of
appreciate the difference between right and wrong
: to value or admire highly
She appreciates our work.
: to judge with heightened perception or understanding : be fully aware of
must see it to appreciate it
: to recognize with gratitude
I appreciate your kindness.
: to increase the value of

intransitive verb

: to increase in number or value
Your investment should appreciate over time.
ə-ˈprē-shē-ˌā-tər How to pronounce appreciate (audio)
 also  -ˈprē-sē-

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Meanings of Appreciate

Some find it troubling that English is in a constant state of flux, while others take comfort in the in evolving nature of our language. To those in the latter camp, appreciate affords a welcome illustration of how shifts in meaning that were once considered vexatious may become commonly accepted. The grammarian Albert Ayres, writing in the 19th century, said of appreciate that “if any word in the language has cause to complain of ill-treatment, this one has.” Ayres believed the word could only mean what it originally meant, “to set a value on something,” and that its use in a sentence like “I appreciate him highly” was improper. Other self-appointed guardians of the language piled on additional complaints: Edmund Shaftesbury, in his 1897 The Book of Books, held that “Appreciate should not be used for increases in value.” Obviously, we have long since forgotten these quibbles – both senses of appreciate are used regularly, and nobody gives the matter a second thought.

Choose the Right Synonym for appreciate

appreciate, value, prize, treasure, cherish mean to hold in high estimation.

appreciate often connotes sufficient understanding to enjoy or admire a thing's excellence.

appreciates fine wine

value implies rating a thing highly for its intrinsic worth.

values our friendship

prize implies taking a deep pride in something one possesses.

Americans prize their freedom

treasure emphasizes jealously safeguarding something considered precious.

a treasured memento

cherish implies a special love and care for something.

cherishes her children above all

synonyms see in addition understand

Examples of appreciate in a Sentence

Given that scarcity and the anticipated growth of high-end wine consumption in the United States, they believe the value of quality vineyards will appreciate significantly. Daniel Sogg, Wine Spectator, 15 June 2008
The true carnivores in your life will appreciate this gloriously formidable slab of USDA prime meat. Is it worth the equally hefty price? Absolutely. Lobel's dry ages it for six weeks and always ships it fresh-no frozen mystery bricks here-and regardless of how you like your steak done, this porterhouse cooks up beautifully, retains its juices, and delivers rich, buttery flavor. Kate Fox, Saveur, December 2006
As a married, working woman in her mid-30s who's planning on eventually having children, I truly appreciated reading "Mommy Madness." Over the years, I have observed peers with their children, and have inquired about what parenthood is really like. Amy Booth, Newsweek, 7 Mar. 2005
I think often of the quiet rigor of my former life. I did not even fully appreciate how much it costs to rent an apartment on the open market. Martha Southgate, The Fall of Rome, 2002
The company strives to make its employees feel appreciated. Living in the city has taught me to appreciate the differences between people. Those who appreciate fine wine will enjoy reading the restaurant's wine list. I really appreciated the information you gave me. Your help the other day was greatly appreciated. The tiny creature contributes to its ecosystem in ways we are only just beginning to appreciate. I don't think you appreciate the complexity of the situation. I appreciate what the artist is trying to do, but I think the painting fails to do it. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The gift of skin-plumping essentials is always appreciated, so this holiday season, put the Fresh Radiance Day & Night Skin-Care Set under the tree for a loved one (or yourself). Anamaria Glavan, Allure, 26 Nov. 2023 In fact, it’s even made with a sleek aluminum material that’s guaranteed to remain in good shape much longer than your old leather wallet — a fact that any shopper on your list is sure to appreciate. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 25 Nov. 2023 Life is all about appreciating the little things, like the perfect latte foam. Micaela Arnett, Rolling Stone, 24 Nov. 2023 Those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen will appreciate a sleek cutting board or a new pot from Our Place, while this Dyson cordless vacuum that’s now 20 percent off will help the post-holiday clean-up go quicker. Alyssa Grabinski, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 Admission is free; donations appreciated for the Gaden Shartse Monastery. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Nov. 2023 Although Mitchell and Thompson are sharing the screen in no time, the audience hardly gets a chance to appreciate their chemistry before tedious new characters are introduced and the film nosedives into a convoluted and humorless plot. Murtada Elfadl, Variety, 23 Nov. 2023 Consumers appreciate that because the loans don’t affect their credit scores. Cora Lewis, Fortune, 22 Nov. 2023 Price at time of publish: $9 For Hanukkah parties where latkes, doughnuts, brisket, and other foods are served, the host might appreciate this three-tier serving stand that adds a sophisticated touch to party foods. Amanda Ogle, Southern Living, 22 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'appreciate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin appretiatus, past participle of appretiare, from Latin ad- + pretium price — more at price entry 1

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of appreciate was in 1653

Dictionary Entries Near appreciate

Cite this Entry

“Appreciate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​pre·​ci·​ate ə-ˈprē-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce appreciate (audio) ə-ˈprish-ē-ˌāt How to pronounce appreciate (audio)
appreciated; appreciating
: to see the worth, quality, or significance of
appreciate the difference between right and wrong
: to admire highly
appreciates the artist's work
: to be fully aware of
must experience it to appreciate it
: to be grateful for
we appreciate your help
: to increase in number or value
savings appreciate over time
appreciatively adverb
appreciativeness noun

from Latin appretiatus "having put a value on," derived from ap-, ad- "to" and pretium "price" — related to price

Legal Definition


ap·​pre·​ci·​ate ə-ˈprē-shē-ˌāt, -ˈpri-, -sē- How to pronounce appreciate (audio)
appreciated; appreciating

transitive verb

: to judge or understand the significance of
incapable of appreciating the difference between right and wrongB. N. Cardozo
: to raise the market value of compare depreciate

intransitive verb

: to rise in market value

More from Merriam-Webster on appreciate

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