ap·​pro·​ba·​tion | \ ˌa-prə-ˈbā-shən How to pronounce approbation (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from approbation

approbatory \ ˈa-​prə-​bə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce approbatory (audio) , ə-​ˈprō-​bə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for approbation



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 But Mao sought much more than fame and approbation. Julian Gewirtz, Harper's Magazine, "To Rebel Is Justified," 30 Mar. 2020 And for those of us trying to listen to our more subtle selves, who are perhaps unduly sensitive to the neuroses and agendas of others, the pursuit of fleeting approbation can become a real distraction, thwarting those tender shoots of new ideas. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "Is It Possible to Feel Creatively Connected Without Social Media?," 4 Mar. 2020 But unlike Timberlake, Bieber isn’t working with pioneering sonic architects like Timbaland or the Neptunes, making choices that invite critical approbation. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Can Justin Bieber Hide in Plain Sight?," 14 Feb. 2020 Kolomoisky enjoyed a few, brief moments in the glow of Western approbation. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "Meet Trumpworld’s Next Top Ukrainian Grifter," 16 Dec. 2019 Perhaps contributing to the attendees’ approbation, a station was placed near the Lolla main gate, which was another strategic decision. Nicole Blackwood,, "You can’t bring water into Lollapalooza any more, but it’s never been easier to refill that empty bottle," 2 Aug. 2019 But Levinson bested Waters through middle-class approbation, not through talent. Armond White, National Review, "The Baltimore Culture Wars: A History," 31 July 2019 Within a rhetoric of universal approbation, every writer turns craven; all talent withers. Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker, "What Does It Mean to Be a “Real” Writer?," 3 July 2019 However, his talent soon garnered him the approbation of his peers. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "“Balenciaga and Spanish Painting” Opens at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid," 21 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of approbation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for approbation

see approbate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about approbation

Time Traveler for approbation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about approbation

Statistics for approbation

Last Updated

14 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Approbation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for approbation


How to pronounce approbation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of approbation

formal : praise or approval

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on approbation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for approbation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with approbation

Spanish Central: Translation of approbation

Nglish: Translation of approbation for Spanish Speakers

Comments on approbation

What made you want to look up approbation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!