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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to take a favorable view
doesn't approve of fighting
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.
Recent Examples on the Web The county budget is expected to be approved at the Quorum Court meeting Thursday. Mike Jones,, 27 Nov. 2023 During the cabinet debate Tuesday to approve the first break in fighting since the war began on Oct. 7, Netanyahu made clear that a vote for the deal was not a vote for lasting peace. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2023 But there's a growing contingent of Republicans who'd like Israel aid approved on its own, as the House has already done. Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 27 Nov. 2023 Metformin has long been beneficial—and is approved—for people with diabetes. Ali Finney, Vogue, 27 Nov. 2023 The audience approved, giving him a rousing ovation. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2023 The Rich Cream Everyone from Hailey Bieber to Margot Robbie approve of this super rich facial moisturizer. Danielle Sinay, Glamour, 26 Nov. 2023 The final but unofficial totals in the five-eighths-cent tax vote, which has been in effect since voters approved it in 2017, were: For1,490 Against1,959 The tax will sunset Sept. 30, 2024. I.c. Murrell,, 15 Nov. 2023 Had the council not approved Tuesday’s compromise, allowable increases would have been higher: up to 7% as a base, or up to 9% if landlords pay utilities. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near approve

Cite this Entry

“Approve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​prove ə-ˈprüv How to pronounce approve (audio)
approved; approving
: to think well of
: to accept as satisfactory
approvingly adverb

Legal Definition


transitive verb
approved; approving
: to give formal or official sanction to : ratify
Congress approved the proposed budget

More from Merriam-Webster on approve

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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