ap·​pro·​ba·​tion | \ˌa-prə-ˈbā-shən \

Definition of approbation 

1a : commendation, praise a plan that has won the approbation of the mayor

b : an act of approving formally or officially

2 obsolete : proof

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Other Words from approbation

approbatory \ ˈa-​prə-​bə-​ˌtȯr-​ē , ə-​ˈprō-​bə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for approbation


approval, blessing, favor, imprimatur, OK (or okay)


disapprobation, disapproval, disfavor

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Did You Know?

Approbation is similar in meaning to "approval," and it is also very close to "approval" etymologically. Both words trace back to the Latin verb approbare, which means "to prove" or "to approve." Approbation meant "proof" when it first appeared in English in the 14th century, and by the early 1500s it had come to mean "formal or official approval," a sense it still retains in certain ecclesiastical contexts. Today, however, we mostly use "approbation" in the looser sense of "approval, admiration, or praise." The related verb approbate means "to approve or sanction," and the adjective approbatory means "expressing approval or commendation."

Examples of approbation in a Sentence

The company has even received the approbation of its former critics. that plan has the approbation of the school board

Recent Examples on the Web

Unexpectedly, for a modern American political debate, Kasky didn’t look pleased at this show of public approbation. Eve Fairbanks, The New Republic, "Buying In: How the Language of the Market Has Warped American Politics," 9 Mar. 2018 While overall support remains strong for these space vehicles, delays in their development may have begun to break the almost uniform congressional approbation for these exploration programs. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Some in Congress start to question ongoing SLS rocket delays," 9 Nov. 2017 But the right to speak is not the right to public approbation. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Kaepernick’s Collusion Claim Is a Likely Loser," 18 Oct. 2017 If some artists in this show seem to be speaking a bit too literally, that may be because influencing local audiences was a more urgent calling than winning the approbation of far-off western institutions. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Southeast Asia Stakes Its Claim in the Art World," 27 Sep. 2017 Does your approbation of the death penalty have no bounds? Jed S. Rakoff, Slate Magazine, "Can the Death Penalty Ever Be Implemented Justly?," 28 Apr. 2017 The most coveted approbation, though, was being summoned over to the couch, an honor bestowed on only a handful of first-time performers. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'I'm Dying' crowns Johnny Carson as comedy king-maker," 2 June 2017 Still, the approbation for the bill was not universal. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "‘Raise the Age,’ Now Law in New York, Is Still a Subject of Debate," 10 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'approbation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of approbation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for approbation

see approbate

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The first known use of approbation was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of approbation

: praise or approval

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a private place of worship

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