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

Former Nissan executive Greg Kelly is also ratcheting up the pressure by accusing Saikawa of approving Ghosn’s pay structure. Washington Post, "Maybe Carlos Ghosn Wasn’t So Bad After All," 18 Sep. 2019 In the event neither Walsh’s or the Ball-DPZ proposal pass, Walsh has filed legislation to extend the moratorium on approving permits for development, which is set to end next month, an additional three months. Erin B. Logan,, "Proposals to ease development’s impact on Ellicott City flooding draw opposition from industry," 17 Sep. 2019 After approving a contract to build and install a memorial to the Groveland Four, Lake County commissioners discussed other ways to highlight black history and the fight for civil rights. Jerry Fallstrom,, "Lake moves forward with Groveland Four monument, plans further displays of black history, civil rights," 16 Sep. 2019 San Diego’s Planning Commission took the first step this week toward approving a controversial 300-home subdivision on 52 acres in Scripps Ranch that are now part of the campus of Alliant International University. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Controversial 300-home subdivision proposed for university campus," 15 Sep. 2019 But consider this: When given the chance to actually pay teachers more by approving tax increases, very often those same voters say no. CBS News, "How we have failed our teachers," 15 Sep. 2019 Walsh’s announcement comes just one week after the arrest of Fall River Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II , who recently came under fire for approving two pot shops run by his live-in girlfriend’s brother., "Starting Friday, employees for the city of Boston and their immediate family members can no longer open marijuana businesses in Boston or participate in companies that are seeking marijuana licenses in the city.," 14 Sep. 2019 The state is en route to approving a law that gives players a chance to make some money for playing games that entertain the masses and seem to make everyone rich except the players themselves. Eddie Pells,, "Change on tap whether NCAA goes along or not," 12 Sep. 2019 The report was critical of the San Antonio Water System’s proposed 142-mile Vista Ridge pipeline and Nirenberg wanted the council to discuss the study before approving a 16 percent SAWS rate hike over two years to pay for the pipeline. Gilbert Garcia,, "Nirenberg disregards process with Broadway bike-lanes proposal," 11 Sep. 2019

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

22 Sep 2019

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 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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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

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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