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Sources usually speak of "giving the seal of approval" to a product, program, etc. Is there an more literal but still idiomatic way of expressing the opposite of "withholding the seal of approval"? I was thinking of "appending" or "affixing" but this seems to lack umph.

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Consider applying.

apply verb with object Put or spread (a substance) on a surface. ‘the sealer can be applied to new wood’ - ODO

Here's an example of its use (it's a chapter subtitle):

The literal meaning is that the label is pasted onto product. The figurative meaning is that the certifier approves of the product.

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    Very nice application. – Mikhail Katz Jan 12 '18 at 8:55
  • I'd consider forgetting 'applying'. Google Ngrams. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 12 '18 at 16:35
  • @EdwinAshworth The OP wanted something more literal than 'giving'. – Lawrence Jan 12 '18 at 16:47

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