[uh-proo-vuh l]


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 formsnon·ap·prov·al, nounpre·ap·prov·al, nounpro·ap·prov·al, adjectivere·ap·prov·al, nounself-ap·prov·al, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for approval

Contemporary Examples of approval

Historical Examples of approval

  • The bill passed, and received the approval of the Queen, August 1, 1870.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Christine saw his approval, and was happier than she had been for weeks.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He had put her aside without a qualm; and now he met her announcement with approval.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Then the conduct of the war did not at all meet the approval of Mr. Yates.

  • A man likes to have the approval of even the humblest of his fellow-creatures.

British Dictionary definitions for 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

Word Origin and History for 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

Idioms and Phrases with approval


see on approval; seal of approval.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.