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Commend vs Recommend vs Applaud vs Compliment

Commend, recommend, applaud, compliment are comparable when they mean to voice or otherwise manifest to others one's warm approval.

Commend usually implies judicious or restrained praise, but it suggests as its motive a desire to call attention to the merits of a person or a thing.

Recommend adds to commend the implication of offering something that is praised for acceptance, use, or employment by another.

Applaud implies an enthusiastic expression of approval; it usually suggests approval by a large number of persons or by the public.

Compliment stresses either courtesy in the commendation or, sometimes, flattery in the manner or words of praise.