Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Disapprobation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is disapprobation. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Disapprobation refers to the act or state of disapproving or of being disapproved of.

// There was widespread disapprobation of the city’s plan to slash educational funding.


“Set in 19th-century Western Australia at the height of the pearl trade, this book paints a nuanced portrait of the era as the backdrop for a feminist epic. In her debut novel, [author Lizzie] Pook introduces us to Eliza Brightwell, a pearler’s daughter living in the fictional Bannin Bay of Western Australia. Eliza stands out from the other women of Bannin Bay because of both her plain looks and her independent personality. She’s the sort to walk around town in battered boots rather than ride in a carriage like other ladies of her class, much to the disapprobation of the townsfolk.” — Kirkus Reviews, 15 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

Disapprobation is not only a synonym of disapproval but a relative as well. Both words were coined in the 17th century by adding the prefix dis-, meaning “the opposite or absence of,” to existing “approving” words: synonyms approbation and approval. The ultimate source of the foursome is the Latin verb approbare, meaning “to approve.” Another descendant of approbare is approbate, which means “to express approval of formally or legally.” Love it or lump it, approbare has proven itself useful.

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