[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

Related Words for self-approval

complacency, smugness, conceit, glow, self-approbation, self-approval

Examples from the Web for self-approval

Contemporary Examples of self-approval

Historical Examples of self-approval

  • 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.

  • 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.


    Mrs. Molesworth

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with self-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.