Definition of approve in English:



  • 1Officially agree to or accept as satisfactory.

    ‘the budget was approved by Congress’
    ‘an approved profit-sharing plan’
    • ‘The European Parliament approves the EU's budget, and co-decides most EU legislation with the Council of Ministers, which comprises the 15 member states.’
    • ‘If the Parliament approves proposals, it is possible for the Council to pass legislation by a majority vote instead of requiring unanimous approval from the members of the Council.’
    • ‘The authority has a month to decide either to approve the merger or to carry out a more detailed investigation.’
    • ‘The regulations must be laid before Parliament and are to lapse at the end of 7 days unless in that time each House of Parliament passes a resolution approving them.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister approved the request on 9 February 1962.’
    • ‘All three have said they proposed to approve the plans, subject to the Secretary of State's views.’
    • ‘The parliament promulgates laws, approves the national budget, monitors the legality of governmental activities, and, in concert with the president, exerts legislative power.’
    • ‘School trustees may have scored a goal with young athletes Monday night, approving a specialized sports course to be launched from Palmer secondary this fall.’
    • ‘‘Even if the Committee, Council and the State Government approves our proposal, we will have to clear all legal hurdles before we implement it,’ the official added.’
    • ‘If our budget proposals are not approved by the House, we can use the previous budget.’
    • ‘If councillors approve the latest proposals to the district plan it could be adopted by the end of May.’
    • ‘Despite this presidential warning shot, the Senate narrowly approved both amendments.’
    • ‘What we have here as a problem is a lack of prudence in approving a loan proposal.’
    • ‘When, in the course of administering town planning, a public planning authority approves an application by or on behalf of a landholder to use land for a more intensive use, the value of the land is increased.’
    • ‘Councillors agreed to approve the proposals, so care home residents would not be disturbed by construction work.’
    • ‘A huge expansion of a busy supermarket has been approved by planning officials.’
    • ‘Members voted to approve the plans claiming the proposals were in accordance with policy and that there was both local and historic interest.’
    • ‘These potentially conflicting imperatives can be reconciled if the senate approves course descriptions whenever relevant professional standards have been satisfied.’
    • ‘If they approve the proposals, the plans will go to the Scottish Executive for consideration.’
    • ‘Other citizens in attendance support the plan, and the committee approves the proposal.’
    accept, agree to, consent to, assent to, acquiesce in, concur in, accede to, give one's blessing to, bless, give one's seal of approval to, give one's stamp of approval to, rubber-stamp, say yes to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Believe that someone or something is good or acceptable.
      ‘I don't approve of the way she pampers my father and brothers’
      • ‘I heartily approve of Roman numerals and support their use - provided it is in the right place and applied correctly.’
      • ‘After all, what if the ideas that end up winning popular support don't happen to be ones that they approve of?’
      • ‘Someone donating that much to me would be doing so because they approve of the idea of an independent journalist.’
      • ‘He knew Allison probably didn't approve of his leather coat.’
      • ‘Every concert was packed by enthusiastic audiences who clearly approved of what they heard.’
      • ‘How do I know you haven't edited out all the interesting bits, simply because you don't approve of murder stories?’
      • ‘Even though I don't believe she ever came to like him or approve of many of his views, she came to care about him.’
      • ‘No one in my family approved of my writing, and especially not my mother.’
      • ‘You not only have to have a director you approve of, you have to have a producer who approves of the director, and you have to have a studio, a company, that's going to support you the way you want to make the film.’
      • ‘This is not to say that they approve of the man in all his particulars.’
      • ‘I don't approve of smoking in any form, whether it's cannabis or nicotine, but I do think the police were going a little bit over the top.’
      • ‘I wasn't sure there was any part of my life she did approve of and it wasn't as if she believed in quiet disapproval.’
      • ‘Look, just because you have to tolerate something doesn't mean you have to approve of it!’
      • ‘While condemning pornography, most of us approve of, or even advocate, erotica.’
      • ‘No citizen should feel that their equality before the law is dependent on their embrace of political views that we approve of.’
      • ‘National polls show that barely one-third of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.’
      • ‘I just don't approve of the bells on the new trams.’
      • ‘Dentists approve of children's electric toothbrushes because they clean well, but even so, a parent should do the brushing.’
      agree with, hold with, endorse, support, back, uphold, subscribe to, recommend, advocate, second, express one's approval of, be in favour of, favour, think well of, like, look on with favour, give one's blessing to, tolerate, appreciate, countenance, take kindly to
      admiring, appreciative, appreciating, favourable, respectful, esteeming, commendatory, commending, applauding, acclamatory, acclaiming, praising, flattering, congratulatory, rapturous
      View synonyms
  • 2archaic Prove; show.

    ‘he approved himself ripe for military command’
    • ‘He approved himself to his comrades brave, generous, self-sacrificing.’
    • ‘After that fourth trial, sundry of the kings and many of the lesser barons and knights and all of the commons cried out that these were trials enough, and that Arthur had assuredly approved himself to be rightwise King; wherefore they demanded that he should be made King indeed so that he might rule over them.’


Middle English: from Old French aprover, from Latin approbare (see approbate). The original sense was ‘prove, demonstrate’, later ‘corroborate, confirm’, hence ‘pronounce to be satisfactory’( late Middle English).