ap·​prove | \ə-ˈprüv \
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

Even old-fashioned grandmothers would almost certainly approve. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "People Are Getting Tattoos Inspired by Their Grandmas’ Vintage Pyrex Patterns," 17 Aug. 2018 State lawmakers eventually approved the devices, over the objections of the board, the local fire marshal, and the Ohio Disability Rights Law and Policy Center. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics Guide to Safer Schools," 1 Aug. 2018 The Harford County Council narrowly approved that subsidy in 2012. Luke Broadwater,, "As governor, Larry Hogan's real estate business continues to thrive — prompting questions," 13 July 2018 Council approved on consent Thursday morning adding several modern gun safety regulations to that agenda. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Humble approves Safe Clear towing program at Thursday’s council meeting," 13 July 2018 The Senate last month approved, as part of a larger defense bill, a measure that would reinstate tough penalties on the company. Claire Ballentine, New York Times, "U.S. Lifts Ban That Kept ZTE From Doing Business With American Suppliers," 13 July 2018 Judge Richard Leon approved the deal last month after a six-week trial ended in April. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "DOJ, in surprise move, will appeal AT&T-Time Warner merger," 12 July 2018 Town Council members on July 9 approved conducting a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 23 regarding the $50,000 appropriation from the fund expected to be needed pay for replacement paving. Carrie Napoleon, Post-Tribune, "Highland expected to tap funds for downtown street repairs," 12 July 2018 Ireland's Senate approved legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements . Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Ireland goes ahead with legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for approve

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for approve

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

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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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on approve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with approve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for approve

Spanish Central: Translation of approve

Nglish: Translation of approve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of approve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on approve

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living or existing for a long time

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