The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Appreciate \Ap*pre"ci*ate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Appreciated;
p. pr. & vb. n. Appreciating.] [L. appretiatus, p. p. of
appretiare to value at a price, appraise; ad + pretiare to
prize, pretium price. Cf. Appraise.]
1. To set a price or value on; to estimate justly; to value.
To appreciate the motives of their enemies.
3. To raise the value of; to increase the market price of; --
opposed to depreciate. [U.S.]
Lest a sudden peace should appreciate the money.
4. To be sensible of; to distinguish.
To test the power of bees to appreciate color.
Syn: To Appreciate, Estimate, Esteem.
Usage: Estimate is an act of judgment; esteem is an act of
valuing or prizing, and when applied to individuals,
denotes a sentiment of moral approbation. See
Estimate. Appreciate lies between the two. As
compared with estimate, it supposes a union of
sensibility with judgment, producing a nice and
delicate perception. As compared with esteem, it
denotes a valuation of things according to their
appropriate and distinctive excellence, and not simply
their moral worth. Thus, with reference to the former
of these (delicate perception), an able writer says.
"Women have a truer appreciation of character than
men;" and another remarks, "It is difficult to
appreciate the true force and distinctive sense of
terms which we are every day using." So, also, we
speak of the difference between two things, as
sometimes hardly appreciable. With reference to the
latter of these (that of valuation as the result of a
nice perception), we say, "It requires a peculiar cast
of character to appreciate the poetry of Wordsworth;"
"He who has no delicacy himself, can not appreciate it
in others;" "The thought of death is salutary, because
it leads us to appreciate worldly things aright."
Appreciate is much used in cases where something is in
danger of being overlooked or undervalued; as when we
speak of appreciating the difficulties of a subject,
or the risk of an undertaking. So Lord Plunket,
referring to an "ominous silence" which prevailed
among the Irish peasantry, says, "If you knew how to
appreciate that silence, it is more formidable than
the most clamorous opposition." In like manner, a
person who asks some favor of another is apt to say,
"I trust you will appreciate my motives in this
request." Here we have the key to a very frequent use
of the word. It is hardly necessary to say that
appreciate looks on the favorable side of things. we
never speak of appreciating a man's faults, but his
merits. This idea of regarding things favorably
appears more fully in the word appreciative; as when
we speak of an appreciative audience, or an
appreciative review, meaning one that manifests a
quick perception and a ready valuation of excellence.