ap·​prove | \ ə-ˈprüv How to pronounce approve (audio) \
approved; approving

Definition of approve

transitive verb

1 : to have or express a favorable opinion of couldn't approve such conduct
2a : to accept as satisfactory hopes she will approve the date of the meeting
b : to give formal or official sanction (see sanction entry 1 sense 4c) to : ratify Congress approved the proposed budget.
3 obsolete : prove, attest

intransitive verb

: to take a favorable view doesn't approve of fighting

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Choose the Right Synonym for approve

approve, endorse, sanction, accredit, certify mean to have or express a favorable opinion of. approve often implies no more than this but may suggest considerable esteem or admiration. the parents approve of the marriage endorse suggests an explicit statement of support. publicly endorsed her for Senator sanction implies both approval and authorization. the President sanctioned covert operations accredit and certify usually imply official endorsement attesting to conformity to set standards. the board voted to accredit the college must be certified to teach

Examples of approve in a Sentence

I don't care if all the other parents are letting their kids do it; I still don't approve. The state has approved the building plans, so work on the new school can begin immediately. Your supervisor must approve the report before it can be sent.
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Recent Examples on the Web But, said the federal government and the Federal Drug Administration would have to approve medical marijuana first. Benjamin Yount, Washington Examiner, "Wisconsin Senate leader frames legal marijuana as job safety issue," 16 Apr. 2021 Congress will have to approve the spending as part of a $2.1 trillion bill bankrolled by corporate tax hikes, which Republicans — and some centrist Democrats — say gives too much money to projects that have nothing to do with infrastructure. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, "Biden wants to give anti-violence groups $5 billion. Here's how it could be spent.," 14 Apr. 2021 Beijing has yet to approve any foreign vaccines for use in China. Time, "A Top Official Has Admitted That Chinese Vaccines Have Low Effectiveness," 12 Apr. 2021 China has secured 100 million doses of BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, but regulators have yet to approve it for distribution within China even though the shot has been approved in Hong Kong and dozens of other countries around the world. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Can you mix COVID-19 vaccine doses to boost immunity? China wants to find out," 12 Apr. 2021 Congress passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan through reconciliation without any Republican votes, and may have to approve his massive $2 trillion infrastructure proposal through reconciliation as well. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Progressives push forward with legislative priorities despite filibuster threat," 6 Apr. 2021 The Health Ministry, which takes a cautious approach to vaccines, has yet to approve any other vaccines for use. Washington Post, "North Korea pulls out of Tokyo Olympics over covid concerns," 6 Apr. 2021 The full House would have to approve such actions, with expulsion requiring a two-thirds majority. Anthony Man,, "South Florida’s Ted Deutch leads panel tasked with congressional examination of Gaetz affair," 2 Apr. 2021 The creditors committee will also have to approve it. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Griddy Energy customers get a say in how they come out of the electricity provider’s bankruptcy," 1 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'approve.' 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 approve

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for approve

Middle English, from Anglo-French apruer, approver, from Latin approbare, from ad- + probare to prove — more at prove

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Learn More about approve

Time Traveler for approve

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for approve

Last Updated

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Approve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for approve



English Language Learners Definition of approve

: to believe that something or someone is good or acceptable
: to officially accept (an idea, action, plan, etc.)


ap·​prove | \ ə-ˈprüv How to pronounce approve (audio) \
approved; approving

Kids Definition of approve

1 : to think of as good I don't approve of the way those children behave.
2 : to accept as satisfactory The school committee approved the new curriculum.


transitive verb
approved; approving

Legal Definition of approve

: to give formal or official sanction to : ratify Congress approved the proposed budget

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Comments on approve

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