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From Medieval Latin approbātīvus, from Latin approbō (assert, accept, confirm).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈæp.ɹəˌbeɪ.tɪv/, /əˈpɹəʊ.beɪ.tɪv/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈæp.ɹəˌbeɪ.tɪv/, /əˈpɹoʊˈbeɪ.tɪv/


approbative (comparative more approbative, superlative most approbative)

  1. Expressing approval.
    Synonyms: approbatory, approving
    Antonyms: disapproving, pejorative, reprobative, reprobatory
    approbative criticism
    • 1792, John Pope, A Tour through the Southern and Western Territories of the United States of North-America[1], New York: Charles L. Woodward, published 1888, page 8:
      His late Display of unparralled [sic] Generosity to a distressed, though reputable Family, will be enrolled in the Court above; and from the recording Angel, instead of a Tear, extort an approbative smile.
    • 1895, Joseph Conrad, “Chapter 2”, in Almayer’s Folly[2], London: T. Fisher Unwin, page 33:
      [] the approbative shouts of his half-intoxicated auditors filled his simple soul with delight and pride.
    • Winter 2017, Joseph Epstein, “Jokes: A Genre of Thought”, in Jewish Review of Books[3], volume 7, number 4:
      An Irish friend then in his nineties once asked me if there were any Yiddish words that weren’t critical. I told him there must be some, though I did not know them. Even words that might seem approbative like chachem for wise man, with the slightest turn take on an ironic twist.
  2. Sanctioning officially, giving authorization or approval to something.
    • 1643, John Bramhall, The Serpent Salve[4], page 22:
      And if the words have any graine of truth in them, they must be undestood [sic] not of an Authorative, but onely of a Consultive Power to advise him, or at the most approbative, to give their assent to Laws propounded, he having limited himselfe to make no Laws without them.

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approbative (plural approbatives)

  1. (linguistics) A word or grammatical form which denotes a positive affect expressing the appreciation or approval of the speaker.

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  1. feminine singular of approbatif