Definition of approve in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Officially agree to or accept as satisfactory.

    ‘the budget was approved by Congress’
    ‘an approved profit-sharing plan’
    • ‘These potentially conflicting imperatives can be reconciled if the senate approves course descriptions whenever relevant professional standards have been satisfied.’
    • ‘A huge expansion of a busy supermarket has been approved by planning officials.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 parliament promulgates laws, approves the national budget, monitors the legality of governmental activities, and, in concert with the president, exerts legislative power.’
    • ‘What we have here as a problem is a lack of prudence in approving a loan proposal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Councillors agreed to approve the proposals, so care home residents would not be disturbed by construction work.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister approved the request on 9 February 1962.’
    • ‘If our budget proposals are not approved by the House, we can use the previous budget.’
    • ‘Members voted to approve the plans claiming the proposals were in accordance with policy and that there was both local and historic interest.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘The authority has a month to decide either to approve the merger or to carry out a more detailed investigation.’
    • ‘If they approve the proposals, the plans will go to the Scottish Executive for consideration.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Other citizens in attendance support the plan, and the committee approves the proposal.’
    • ‘If councillors approve the latest proposals to the district plan it could be adopted by the end of May.’
    • ‘All three have said they proposed to approve the plans, subject to the Secretary of State's views.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite this presidential warning shot, the Senate narrowly approved both amendments.’
    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
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    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’
      • ‘Look, just because you have to tolerate something doesn't mean you have to approve of it!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While condemning pornography, most of us approve of, or even advocate, erotica.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘After all, what if the ideas that end up winning popular support don't happen to be ones that they approve of?’
      • ‘National polls show that barely one-third of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.’
      • ‘I heartily approve of Roman numerals and support their use - provided it is in the right place and applied correctly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He knew Allison probably didn't approve of his leather coat.’
      • ‘This is not to say that they approve of the man in all his particulars.’
      • ‘Someone donating that much to me would be doing so because they approve of the idea of an independent journalist.’
      • ‘No citizen should feel that their equality before the law is dependent on their embrace of political views that we approve of.’
      • ‘No one in my family approved of my writing, and especially not my mother.’
      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
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  • 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).