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

to speak or think favorably of; pronounce or consider agreeable or good; judge favorably: to approve the policies of the administration.
to consent or agree to: Father approved our plan to visit Chicago.
to confirm or sanction formally; ratify: The Senate promptly approved the bill.
  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.

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.

Origin of approve

1300–50; Middle English a(p)proven < Anglo-French, Old French aprover < Latin approbāre, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + probāre to prove
Related formsap·prov·ed·ly, adverbap·prov·ed·ness, nounap·prov·ing·ly, adverbnon·ap·proved, adjectivepre·ap·prove, verb, pre·ap·proved, pre·ap·prov··ap·prove, verb, re·ap·proved, re·ap·prov·ing.self-ap·proved, adjectiveself-ap·prov·ing, adjectiveun·ap·proved, adjectiveun·ap·prov·ing, adjectiveun·ap·prov·ing·ly, adverbwell-ap·proved, adjective
Can be confusedapprove endorse

Synonyms for approve

Synonym study

1. Approve, commend, praise mean to have, and usually to express, a favorable opinion. To approve is to have a very good opinion, expressed or not, of someone or something: He approved the new plan. To commend is to speak or write approvingly, often formally and publicly, to congratulate or honor for something done: to commend a worker for a job well done. To praise is to speak or write, often in glowing and emotional terms, about one or more persons, actions, plans, etc.: to praise someone's courage.

Antonyms for approve

2, 3. reject. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for approvingly

Contemporary Examples of approvingly

  • Catsoulis aptly—and, I think, approvingly—calls this “a method that spits on context.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tears of Gaza: Why Context Matters

    Sigal Samuel

    September 25, 2012

  • Peter approvingly cites the refusal of A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman to go speak in Ariel.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Both Sides Now

    Yehudah Mirsky

    March 20, 2012

Historical Examples of approvingly

  • "That's the way to talk, darlint," said his mother, approvingly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Good for you, Max; I can see you've got an idea," cried out Jim, approvingly.

  • "Hear, hear," ironically from the Opposition, approvingly from the Treasury benches.

  • "I quite believe you, my dear," said Mr. Byrne, approvingly.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot

    Mrs. Molesworth

  • “My, but you are giving me a whole lot,” he said, watching her approvingly and encouragingly.

    David Dunne

    Belle Kanaris Maniates

British Dictionary definitions for approvingly




(when intr, often foll by of) to consider fair, good, or right; commend (a person or thing)
(tr) to authorize or sanction
(tr) obsolete to demonstrate or prove by trial
Derived Formsapprovingly, adverb

Word Origin for approve

C14: from Old French aprover, from Latin approbāre to approve, from probāre to test, prove




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

Word Origin for approve

C15: from Old French approuer to turn to advantage, from prou advantage
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 approvingly



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper