pro·​ba·​tive | \ ˈprō-bə-tiv How to pronounce probative (audio) \

Definition of probative

1 : serving to test or try : exploratory
2 : serving to prove : substantiating

Examples of probative in a Sentence

no dearth of probative evidence for the theory of evolution
Recent Examples on the Web When presented with these potential witnesses, trial judges have to balance whether their testimony is properly probative or impermissibly prejudicial. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 17 Mar. 2022 Justice Breyer said additional evidence of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s behavior could have been probative. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2022 Introducing Debra Clayton’s death is unnecessary and the prejudicial impact would outweigh the probative value of the evidence. Jeff Weiner,, 24 July 2019 In short, despite the Government’s efforts to paint a contrary picture, this is not a case containing direct, probative evidence of anticompetitive intent on the part of high level executives within the merging company. Joe Palazzolo, WSJ, 12 June 2018 The goal here is probative, to ask a question and get an answer, and the question is quite simple: Who gives the Colts a better chance at winning fast than Nick Saban? Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, 9 Jan. 2018 The White House is correct to say as much, as are the courts that are now weighing the probative value and legal force of presidential tweets. Phillip Carter, Slate Magazine, 28 July 2017 Their probative value, the judge said, outweighed the prejudicial effect such testimony can have on jurors. Clifford Ward, Wheaton Glen Ellyn, 8 June 2017 Sheridan said there's often footage that has no probative value, meaning the footage does not have the ability to make a point more or less true in a courtroom. Jon Bleiweis,, 10 May 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'probative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of probative

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of probative was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 Mar 2022

Cite this Entry

“Probative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for probative


pro·​ba·​tive | \ ˈprō-bə-tiv How to pronounce probative (audio) \

Legal Definition of probative

1 : serving or tending to prove evidence of the use of an alias by a defendant is often probative of nothingCase & Comment — compare prejudicial
2 : of or relating to proof evidence with probative value


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