verb (used with object), ap·proved, ap·prov·ing.

  1. to speak or think favorably of; pronounce or consider agreeable or good; judge favorably: to approve the policies of the administration.
  2. to consent or agree to: Father approved our plan to visit Chicago.
  3. to confirm or sanction formally; ratify: The Senate promptly approved the bill.
  4. Obsolete.
    1. to demonstrate; show.
    2. to make good; attest.
    3. to prove by trial.
    4. to convict.

verb (used without object), ap·proved, ap·prov·ing.

  1. to speak or consider favorably (sometimes followed by of): Mother didn’t approve of him. The boss wouldn’t approve of the plan. He said that he approved.


  1. (when intr, often foll by of) to consider fair, good, or right; commend (a person or thing)
  2. (tr) to authorize or sanction
  3. (tr) obsolete to demonstrate or prove by trial


  1. (tr) law to improve or increase the value of (waste or common land), as by enclosure

c.1300, “to demonstrate, prove;” mid-14c., “to attest (something) with authority,” from Old French aprover (Modern French approuver) “approve, agree to,” from Latin approbare “to assent to as good, regard as good,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + probare “to try, test something (to find if it is good),” from probus “honest, genuine” (see prove).

The meaning extended late 14c. to “to sanction, endorse, confirm formally” then to “assent to (something) as good” (early 15c.), especially in reference to the actions of authorities, parliaments, etc. Related: Approved; approving.

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