1. appreciate, esteem. Approve, commend, praise mean to have, and usually to express, a favorable opinion. To approve is to have a very good opinion, expressed or not, of someone or something: He approved the new plan. To commend is to speak or write approv-ingly, often formally and publicly, to congratulate or honor for something done: to commend a worker for a job well done. To praise is to speak or write, often in glowing and emotional terms, about one or more persons, actions, plans, etc.: to praise someone's courage. 2, 3. authorize, endorse, validate.