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Late Middle English approbacioun, from Old French approbacion (French approbation), from Latin approbatio, from approbare (to assent to as good, approve, also show to be good, confirm), from ad (to) + probare (approve, commend), from probus (good).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌæp.ɹəʊˈbeɪ.ʃən/, /ˌæp.ɹəˈbeɪ.ʃən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæp.ɹoʊˈbeɪ.ʃən/, /ˌæp.ɹəˈbeɪ.ʃən/
  • (file)


approbation (plural approbations)

  1. The act of approving; an assenting to the propriety of a thing with some degree of pleasure or satisfaction; approval, sanction, commendation or official recognition
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Babington Macaulay
      Many...joined in a loud hum of approbation.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Melmoth
      The silent approbation of one's own breast.
    • 1871, Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, ch. 3:
      [A]nimals not only love, but have desire to be loved. . . . They love approbation or praise.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Approbation and approval have the same general meaning, assenting to or declaring as good, sanction, commendation; but approbation is stronger and more positive. We may be anxious for the approbation of our friends; but we should be still more anxious for the approval of our own consciences. He who is desirous to obtain universal approbation will learn a good lesson from the fable of the old man and his ass. The work has been examined by several excellent judges, who have expressed their unqualified approval of its plan and execution.
    (material dates from 1913)



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approbation f (plural approbations)

  1. approval (permission)

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