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Avoid these words. Seriously.


[uh-proo-vuh l] /əˈpru vəl/
the act of approving; approbation.
formal permission or sanction.
Philately. one of a group of selected stamps sent by a dealer to a prospective customer for examination and either purchase or return.
on approval, without obligation to buy unless satisfactory to the customer upon trial or examination and, otherwise, returnable:
We ship merchandise on approval.
Origin of approval
First recorded in 1680-90; approve + -al2
Related forms
nonapproval, noun
preapproval, noun
proapproval, adjective
reapproval, noun
self-approval, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-approval
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A grin of self-approval at his own witticism closed this speech.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • Really Sweet Oil Bob felt a glow of self-approval as he talked.

    A Man of Two Countries Alice Harriman
  • Have you given thought to the Gospel of self-approval since we talked?

    What Is Man? And Other Stories Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • I do not think you have cause for self-blame at all, but, on the contrary, have for self-approval.

    A Prince of Anahuac James A. Porter
  • And it was with a slight feeling of self-approval that Beata went up to bed.

    Rosy Mrs. Molesworth
  • The first is one of self-approval, the second one of self-contempt.

  • Yet he had taken no step with more complete confidence and self-approval.

    Peccavi E. W. Hornung
  • He was immensely pleased with himself, and felt entitled to his self-approval.

    The Bachelors William Dana Orcutt
  • It was an inspiration and Livingstone shook himself with self-approval.

    Santa Claus's Partner Thomas Nelson Page
British Dictionary definitions for self-approval


the act of approving
formal agreement; sanction
a favourable opinion; commendation
on approval, (of articles for sale) for examination with an option to buy or return
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for self-approval



1680s, from approve + -al (2). According to OED, "Rare bef. 1800; now generally used instead of" approvance (1590s, from French aprovance).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with self-approval
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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