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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

India just knocked down one of its own satellites to prove its orbital muscle to the world. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Not Going Back to the Moon: A Brief Timeline," 27 Mar. 2019 From start to finish, this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, proving just how complicated each piece can be. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Bold and Sculptural New Furniture Collection Inspired by the Basics," 26 Feb. 2019 Particularly, Sterling remembers one fan whose message proved to him just how important playing Randall is in moving the conversation forward. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Sterling K. Brown Is Embracing Every Emotion That Comes With Playing Randall," 19 Mar. 2019 Not to flex, but meeting K-pop group Red Velvet recently proved to me that the vitamin C product is really working. Devon Abelman, Allure, "This Powerful Vitamin C Treatment Helped Me Get the Glass Skin of My Dreams," 19 Mar. 2019 That's where LooLoo comes in, to prove that there's a smarter bathroom alternative out there—one that does all the work for you, too. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Banish Bathroom Smells Forever With LooLoo, a Hands-Free Toilet Freshener," 18 Mar. 2019 Two days later on Easter Sunday, Jesus proved his victory over sin and death by rising from the dead. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Good Friday? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 13 Feb. 2019 Adina Reyter Getty Images The Duchess of Sussex has worn Adina Reyter over eight different times, proving this jewelry brand is one of her go-tos. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Top 5 Favorite Jewelry Brands of All Time," 2 Jan. 2019 Having the president stay with us, choosing Tahiti and Tetiaroa, proves the privacy here is unmatched. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Everyone Is Suddenly Traveling to Tahiti," 9 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prove

Statistics for prove

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prove

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up prove? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!