I believe the word means to approve or praise. So can I use it as

Are you looking for an approbation from your boss ?


Why are you still standing here ? Do you want me to approbate you ?

2 Answers 2


Let's start from the first sentence you indicate.

Approbation is an uncountable noun which corresponds to the perhaps more frequently used approval, so you can ask "Are you looking for your boss's approbation?"

The verb to approbate on the contrary is less frequent (the OED for example does not list it). You can find it with the meaning of "To sanction officially; authorize" in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition; it is used with the meaning of "to accept as valid" in Scottish Law; it is listed in Wiktionary with the meaning of "To give official sanction, consent or authorization". To sum up, therefore, I think that the verb is not appropriately used in your second sentence because it has a rather more formal connotation than necessary, and I would replace it with "to approve (of)".

  • 1
    Being of too-formal register (sense 11) does not make usage incorrect; it may make it inappropriate. Aug 5, 2012 at 0:01
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    @jwpat7. You are right, this way the meaning is clearer, although according to the OED appropriate means suitable, acceptable or correct for the particular circumstances. I'll edit my post as you suggest. Thank you.
    – Paola
    Aug 5, 2012 at 0:03
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    @Paola +1. I continue to appreciate, even with a bit of wonder, your excellent English language skills. (p.s.: competing with jwpat7 is rather difficult; s/he is the best here.)
    – user19148
    Aug 5, 2012 at 0:33
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    @Carlo_R. You flatter me, Carlo. I keep visiting this site because I don't consider myself such a competent English speaker and I always find something new to learn. Your progress over the past few months is surely more impressive.
    – Paola
    Aug 5, 2012 at 0:44

I would say that those two sentences are technically correct. However, I've always found the word to sound clunky at the best of times, so I rarely use or enjoy it.

If I were to change anything, I might drop the "an" from your first sentence.

  • Do you mean that approbation is a mass noun?
    – Luke_0
    Aug 4, 2012 at 23:40

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