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 The company said the offer has been approved by Tribune’s board and is expected to close in the second quarter, if shareholders approve. Author: Paul Farhi, Elahe Izadi, Anchorage Daily News, "Tribune Publishing, owner of several major U.S. newspapers, to be acquired by hedge fund known for slashing newsroom jobs," 17 Feb. 2021 But motions to approve and reject the firing failed along party-line votes, with Democrats voting to save Barron and Republicans voting to sack him. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Confusion over firing Fulton election head continues; state monitor weighs in," 17 Feb. 2021 Under the bill, individual constituents can appeal to the state Administration Commission for a hearing to approve, modify or amend police budgets. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "Law professors from 71 universities nationwide denounce Florida ‘anti-mob’ bill," 16 Feb. 2021 Oakland wasn’t just the first but the strongest CCOPS ordinance, granting the Privacy Commission independence and the full power to approve or ban police surveillance tools. Albert Fox Cahn, Wired, "New York City’s Surveillance Battle Offers National Lessons," 12 Feb. 2021 Rodriguez was one of two dozen people who were in favor of letting Dallas voters decide in May whether to approve the change. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, "Dallas voters to decide if non-U.S. citizens should be allowed to serve on advisory boards," 10 Feb. 2021 The vote to approve a resolution to censure Cheney came in the weeks after the congresswoman voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. al, "Liz Cheney censured by Wyoming GOP for Trump impeachment vote," 7 Feb. 2021 The Biden administration is pushing for Congress to approve a $1.9 trillion relief bill that would provide a new round of payments of $1,400 to individuals to bolster an economic recovery. Martin Crutsinger, Star Tribune, "US consumer credit rose a solid $9.7 billion in December," 5 Feb. 2021 Dating back to a 1974 budget law, legislation under reconciliation cannot be filibustered in the Senate—thereby allowing Democrats to approve such a bill with only 50 votes plus the tie-breaking support of Vice President Kamala Harris. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Biden Is Wise to Negotiate With Senate Republicans," 2 Feb. 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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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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Approve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 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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