Definition of approve in US English:



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

    ‘the budget was approved by Congress’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Councillors agreed to approve the proposals, so care home residents would not be disturbed by construction work.’
    • ‘All three have said they proposed to approve the plans, subject to the Secretary of State's views.’
    • ‘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 Prime Minister approved the request on 9 February 1962.’
    • ‘The parliament promulgates laws, approves the national budget, monitors the legality of governmental activities, and, in concert with the president, exerts legislative power.’
    • ‘Despite this presidential warning shot, the Senate narrowly approved both amendments.’
    • ‘If they approve the proposals, the plans will go to the Scottish Executive for consideration.’
    • ‘If councillors approve the latest proposals to the district plan it could be adopted by the end of May.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If our budget proposals are not approved by the House, we can use the previous budget.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These potentially conflicting imperatives can be reconciled if the senate approves course descriptions whenever relevant professional standards have been satisfied.’
    • ‘The authority has a month to decide either to approve the merger or to carry out a more detailed investigation.’
    • ‘What we have here as a problem is a lack of prudence in approving a loan proposal.’
    • ‘A huge expansion of a busy supermarket has been approved by planning officials.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I heartily approve of Roman numerals and support their use - provided it is in the right place and applied correctly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Someone donating that much to me would be doing so because they approve of the idea of an independent journalist.’
      • ‘No one in my family approved of my writing, and especially not my mother.’
      • ‘Dentists approve of children's electric toothbrushes because they clean well, but even so, a parent should do the brushing.’
      • ‘After all, what if the ideas that end up winning popular support don't happen to be ones that they approve of?’
      • ‘This is not to say that they approve of the man in all his particulars.’
      • ‘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 just don't approve of the bells on the new trams.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How do I know you haven't edited out all the interesting bits, simply because you don't approve of murder stories?’
      • ‘While condemning pornography, most of us approve of, or even advocate, erotica.’
      • ‘Look, just because you have to tolerate something doesn't mean you have to approve of it!’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He approved himself to his comrades brave, generous, self-sacrificing.’


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).