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Approval vs. Acceptance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 20, 2023
Approval is the act of officially agreeing to or endorsing something, while acceptance is the act of receiving or acknowledging something as adequate or suitable.

Key Differences

Approval involves a formal or official agreement, often indicating a positive judgment or sanction. Acceptance, in contrast, is more about recognizing or tolerating something, not necessarily with enthusiasm or agreement.
Gaining approval often means meeting set standards or criteria, and it can imply a sense of satisfaction or endorsement. Acceptance, however, is more about acknowledging the reality of a situation or the validity of something without necessarily expressing approval.
Approval can be seen in various contexts like organizational decisions, where it signifies authorization or sanction. Acceptance, on the other hand, often relates to personal or social contexts, signifying tolerance or acknowledgment.
The process of seeking approval usually involves evaluation or judgment by others. In contrast, acceptance can be a more personal process, involving one's own acknowledgment of circumstances or perspectives.
Approval carries with it a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment of criteria, whereas acceptance can sometimes come with resignation or compromise, accepting things as they are.

Comparison Chart


Formal, official endorsement
Acknowledgment or tolerance


Often organizational or official
Personal, social, or situational

Underlying Implication

Positive judgment, satisfaction
Acknowledging reality, can be neutral


Involves external evaluation
Can be a personal decision

Emotional Connotation

Often associated with accomplishment
May involve resignation or compromise

Approval and Acceptance Definitions


Positive opinion or sanction.
Her novel received critical approval.


Acknowledgment of the validity of something.
The acceptance of her apology was immediate.


Official permission or agreement.
The project proceeded after receiving approval from the board.


The act of receiving something offered.
Her acceptance of the award was graceful.


Endorsement or favorable judgment.
He nodded in approval of the plan.


Tolerating or accommodating a situation.
His acceptance of the circumstances was admirable.


Acceptance of a standard or requirement.
The new design met with the committee's approval.


Agreement to the reality of a situation.
Acceptance of the terms was mandatory for participation.


Agreement with or favorable opinion about something.
Her parents expressed their approval of her career choice.


Reception into a group or community.
Her acceptance into the club was a happy moment.


The act or an instance of approving.


The act of taking something offered
The acceptance of a new job.


An official approbation; a sanction.


Favorable regard; commendation.


An expression granting permission; an indication of agreement with a proposal; an acknowledgement that a person, thing, or event meets requirements.
I need to get an approval on this purchase order.


An expression of favorable acceptance and encouragement; a compliment that also condones.
Words of approval never seem to come from him.


Something mailed by a seller to a collector to match their stated interests; the collector can approve of or return the item.


Approbation; sanction.
A censor . . . without whose approval n capital sentences are to be executed.


The formal act of giving approval;
He gave the project his blessing
His decision merited the approval of any sensible person


A feeling of liking something or someone good;
Although she fussed at them, she secretly viewed all her children with approval


Acceptance as satisfactory;
He bought it on approval


A message expressing a favorable opinion;
Words of approval seldom passed his lips


What is approval?

Approval is the act of agreeing with or favorably regarding something or someone.

How does approval differ from consent?

Approval implies a positive opinion, while consent is agreement, possibly without positive feelings.

Can approval be withdrawn?

Yes, approval can be rescinded if circumstances or opinions change.

Is approval always verbal?

No, approval can be expressed verbally, in writing, or through actions.

Can approval be implied?

Yes, approval can be implied through actions or lack of objection.

What is self-approval?

Self-approval is the recognition and acceptance of one's own actions or qualities.

What is official approval?

Official approval is sanctioned consent from an authoritative body or individual.

Can too much need for approval be harmful?

Yes, excessively seeking approval can lead to dependency on others' opinions.

How does one give approval effectively?

By clearly stating or demonstrating agreement or support.

What is self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance is recognizing and being comfortable with one's own flaws and qualities.

Is seeking approval normal?

Yes, it's a common social behavior to seek approval from peers, authority figures, or society.

How does acceptance differ from approval?

Acceptance is acknowledging the existence or validity of something, while approval involves a positive judgment.

Can one accept something without approving?

Yes, it's possible to recognize something's existence or validity without favoring it.

Can acceptance be passive?

Yes, acceptance can be a passive acknowledgment without active endorsement.

What is acceptance?

Acceptance is the act of receiving or acknowledging something as valid, adequate, or suitable.

How does acceptance relate to tolerance?

Acceptance goes beyond tolerance; it involves a positive welcome, not just endurance.

How can one practice acceptance?

By being open-minded, understanding, and refraining from harsh judgments.

Is acceptance important in relationships?

Yes, acceptance is crucial in relationships for understanding and valuing differences.

What is social acceptance?

Social acceptance is the acknowledgment and welcome given by a social group.

Does acceptance mean agreement?

Not necessarily; one can accept the reality of a situation or opinion without agreeing with it.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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