prove

verb
\ ˈprüv \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən , British also  ˈprō-​ \; proving\ ˈprü-​viŋ \

Definition of prove

transitive verb

1 archaic : to learn or find out by experience
2a : 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)
3a : 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
4 : to show (oneself) to be worthy or capable eager to prove myself in the new job

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 \ adjective
provableness noun
provably \ ˈprü-​və-​blē \ adverb
prover \ ˈprü-​vər \ 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

And proving that the dramatic shade boasts real-life wearability, Park then took it to the streets after the show. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "How This Model Took Off-White’s Runway Makeup Straight to the Streets," 16 Jan. 2019 But as soap operas across the globe have proved over and over again, evil twins never really die. Maria Tallarico, Glamour, "9 Jane the Virgin Fan Theories That Will Keep You Up at Night," 11 Jan. 2019 That means there is no way to get a larger distribution of marital property by proving fault. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, "The Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos Divorce: One Lawyer Explains How to Split the World’s Biggest Fortune," 10 Jan. 2019 On Friday, Ginsburg, who is 85, underwent surgery to remove the nodules, both of which proved cancerous upon post-operative testing. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the case for 18-year Supreme Court terms," 26 Dec. 2018 Silicon Valley is shaped by people watching impossible problems prove possible to solve. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Ezra Klein and Kara Swisher on the future of journalism," 12 Dec. 2018 In November, Tencent began to require users to prove their ages and identities in order to more strictly enforce curfews on young gamers. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "China lifts video game ban but not for its biggest player," 29 Dec. 2018 As the breakout star of Barry Jenkins’ buzzy If Beale Street Could Talk, the film adaptation of the James Baldwin novel in theaters now, Layne plays Tish Rivers, a woman trying to prove her lover’s innocence while pregnant with their first child. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "Meet KiKi Layne, the If Beale Street Could Talk Actress Everyone's Talking About," 27 Dec. 2018 Now, the famous couple has officially confirmed the news, and gave us photos and video to prove that love is real and everything's going to be ok. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus Confirm It: They Totally Got Married," 27 Dec. 2018

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 1

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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Statistics for prove

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prove

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

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More Definitions for prove

prove

verb

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 \
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 \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən \; 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 \ adjective
provableness noun
provably \ ˈprü-​və-​blē \ 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

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