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

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Examples of probative in a Sentence

no dearth of probative evidence for the theory of evolution
Recent Examples on the Web If so, Biden’s capacity to extort Kyiv into firing a prosecutor would be probative of the Obama administration’s influence over Ukrainian law-enforcement. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The President’s Best Ukraine Defense: Not an Impeachable Offense," 27 Oct. 2019 Introducing Debra Clayton’s death is unnecessary and the prejudicial impact would outweigh the probative value of the evidence. Jeff Weiner,, "Jurors in Markeith Loyd’s 1st trial can be told he shot Debra Clayton — but not that she died, judge rules," 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, "Decoding Judge Leon's AT&T-Time Warner Decision," 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, "Doyel: Belichick isn't coming, so Colts should try to hire the next best guy — Nick Saban," 9 Jan. 2018 But still: By any normal evidentiary, probative or journalistic measure, the big story here is the FBI—its politicized handling of Russian matters, and not competently so. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "The FBI’s Political Meddling," 24 Oct. 2017 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, "Military leaders who say the president’s social media posts aren’t policy are playing a dangerous game.," 28 July 2017 Their probative value, the judge said, outweighed the prejudicial effect such testimony can have on jurors. Clifford Ward, Wheaton Glen Ellyn, "Prosecutors can call past accusers at trial of man charged in teen's '85 killing," 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,, "Baltimore County police chief defends shielding body camera video," 10 May 2017

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.

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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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Cite this Entry

“Probative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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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