According to some dictionaries, one meaning of endorse is to say publicly that you support a person, statement or course of action. But if a person or company provides a free or discounted service or commodity to an organization, say a charity, is it true that the person or company is endorsing the organization? They are supporting the organization in some way, aren't they?

If a company provides free books to an orphanage, is this an instance of endorsement?

2 Answers 2


I would say that an endorsement is a formal backing, I.e., public support of organization X.

I say this because English Grammar doesn't have a defined set of rules or formal rules instead, it is based on real-life language; hence, English Grammar has changed much over the years.

Often on social media platforms, especially from those with a large following, you will see the phrase 'retweet does not equal endorsement.' Here, the Public Figure is saying while I may support a cause with a retweet (raising awareness for a charity, for example) I do not formally endorse the Charity.

One interpretation for your chosen example would be, just because a company provides free books to an orphanage, unless they publicly endorse the orphanage, they are not assumed to be endorsing them, merely supporting them.

I hope this sheds some light on the matter for you.

  • We also require endorsements for things like Visa's and the like. A resident of a country has to endorse the application, I.e. publicly sign and vouch for the person getting the Visa. In short, endorsement could be seen as a formal public endorsement, otherwise I would default to 'support' rather than 'endorse'. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:45

I would say that the word endorse has no formal universally recognized definition that would serve to answer your question, except perhaps as defined in some statute somewhere, which would have limited effect.

endorse can mean to lend one's name to something, in a formal act of public support, or merely to approve of something or to sanction it, but not formally, and not in a manner that advertises the support.

Since the word can be taken either way, it would be best to avoid thanking a benefactor who wished to remain anonymous for their endorsement.

  • Let's say a company has 10 workers and each specializes in a different service. If I'm writing to the company to ask them to recommend a worker that best suits my needs. Can I say I am writing to the company to "request an endorsement"?
    – Apollyon
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 14:52
  • Are you asking if that is the word that a native speaker would be most likely to use? Or are you trying to sketch out the boundaries of the word's semantic field? The most likely word is recommendation or the verb recommend. Can you recommend an employee that would be particularly suitable to our needs? I assume they all have your endorsement!
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 19:17
  • Thank you. I know the word "recommendation" is definitely correct, but I'd like to know whether "endorsement" is also correct, particularly in the phrase "to request an endorsement."
    – Apollyon
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 22:24
  • endorsement doesn't fit your particular scenario where you're asking for a recommendation from among a set of employees all of whom the employer already endorses. After the recommendation you could ask, "And this person has your highest endorsement?" if you wanted to make sure the person understands that this selection is of great importance to you.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 22:31

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