prove

verb
\ ˈprüv How to pronounce prove (audio) \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən How to pronounce proven (audio) , British also  ˈprō-​ \; proving\ ˈprü-​viŋ How to pronounce proving (audio) \

Definition of prove

transitive verb

1a : to establish the existence, truth, or validity of (as by evidence or logic) prove a theorem the charges were never proved in court
b : to demonstrate as having a particular quality or worth the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests proved herself a great actress
2 : to show (oneself) to be worthy or capable eager to prove myself in the new job
3a : to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of the exception proves the rule prove a will at probate
b : to test the worth or quality of specifically : to compare against a standard sometimes used with up or out
c : to check the correctness of (something, such as an arithmetic result)
4 archaic : to learn or find out by experience

intransitive verb

: to turn out especially after trial or test the new drug proved effective

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Other Words from prove

provable \ ˈprü-​və-​bəl How to pronounce provable (audio) \ adjective
provableness noun
provably \ ˈprü-​və-​blē How to pronounce provably (audio) \ adverb
prover \ ˈprü-​vər How to pronounce prover (audio) \ noun

proved or proven?: Usage Guide

The past participle proven, originally the past participle of preve, a Middle English variant of prove that survived in Scotland, has gradually worked its way into standard English over the past three and a half centuries. It seems to have first become established in legal use and to have come only slowly into literary use. Tennyson was one of its earliest frequent users, probably for metrical reasons. It was disapproved by 19th century grammarians, one of whom included it in a list of "words that are not words." Surveys made some 50 or 60 years ago indicated that proved was about four times as frequent as proven. But our evidence from the last 30 or 35 years shows this no longer to be the case. As a past participle proven is now about as frequent as proved in all contexts. As an attributive adjective proved or proven gas reserves proven is much more common than proved.

Examples of prove in a Sentence

The charges against him were never proved in court. The government failed to prove its case. It could not be proven that the suspect stole the money. A person who is charged with a crime is considered innocent until proved guilty. mathematicians trying to prove a theorem To prove her point, she got out the old research. The tests proved the vaccine to be effective. Her second album was a hit that proved her critics wrong.
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Recent Examples on the Web With an opportunity to prove himself among players from elite programs, he was bound to make the most of it. Don Williams, USA TODAY, "When football helped the healing: How Lubbock rallied around a college all-star game," 12 July 2020 It's been a frustrating tenure with the Brewers so far for both ex-Padres, who are eager to prove themselves. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eric Lauer's late arrival to summer camp a result of his close contact with someone COVID-19 positive," 12 July 2020 That may or may not prove true with the coronavirus, too. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area districts weigh how big of a risk to take in reopening schools: ‘It’s a gamble’," 26 June 2020 For many, the storylines didn’t prove fresh or relatable. Joi-marie Mckenzie, Essence, "Despite Mixed Reviews, '#blackAF' Gets A Second Season At Netflix," 23 June 2020 Members of the Windrush generation were in the country legally, but many did not have the papers to prove it because such identification was never necessary until the government tightened the rules. Billy Perrigo, Time, "Britain Celebrates 'Windrush Day' Amid Broader Reckoning on Race," 22 June 2020 However, give any relationship a little time to prove itself before falling madly in love. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 19 June 2020 The athletes need to understand their responsibility, but why was a signature needed to prove it? Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Who owns the coronavirus risk in college football? ‘I’m concerned players are being taken advantage of'," 16 June 2020 The period of the season where Dallas was trying to prove itself has been long over. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "‘Clayster,’ Dallas Empire make work of art in 3-0 sweep of Seattle, advance to tournament semifinal," 14 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prove.' 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 prove

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4

History and Etymology for prove

Middle English, from Anglo-French prover, pruver, from Latin probare to test, prove, from probus good, honest, from pro- for, in favor + -bus (akin to Old English bēon to be) — more at pro-, be

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Time Traveler for prove

Time Traveler

The first known use of prove was in the 13th century

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Statistics for prove

Last Updated

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prove.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prove. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for prove

prove

verb
How to pronounce prove (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prove

: to show the existence, truth, or correctness of (something) by using evidence, logic, etc.
: to show that (someone or something) has a particular quality, ability, etc.
: to turn out to be

prove

verb
\ ˈprüv How to pronounce prove (audio) \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən \; proving

Kids Definition of prove

1 : to show the truth or existence of something with facts I can prove he's guilty.
2 : to turn out to be The climb proved more difficult than they had expected.
3 : to check the correctness of prove the math theory
4 : to test by experiment or by a standard Tests proved that the vaccine is effective.
\ ˈprüv How to pronounce prove (audio) \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən How to pronounce proven (audio) \; proving

Legal Definition of prove

1 : to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of prove a will at probate
2a : to establish the existence, truth, or validity of the charges were never proved in court
b : to provide sufficient proof of or that proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt

Other Words from prove

provable \ ˈprü-​və-​bəl How to pronounce provable (audio) \ adjective
provableness noun
provably \ ˈprü-​və-​blē How to pronounce provably (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on prove

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prove

Spanish Central: Translation of prove

Nglish: Translation of prove for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prove for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prove

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