prove

play
verb \ ˈprüv \

Definition of prove

proved; proved or proven play \ˈprü-vən, British also ˈprō-\; proving play \ˈprü-viŋ\
transitive verb
1 archaic :to learn or find out by experience
2 a :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)
3 a :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

provable

play \ˈprü-və-bəl\ adjective

provableness

noun

provably

play \-blē\ adverb

prover

play \ˈprü-vər\ noun

proved or proven?

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

  1. The charges against him were never proved in court.

  2. The government failed to prove its case.

  3. It could not be proven that the suspect stole the money.

  4. A person who is charged with a crime is considered innocent until proved guilty.

  5. mathematicians trying to prove a theorem

  6. To prove her point, she got out the old research.

  7. The tests proved the vaccine to be effective.

  8. Her second album was a hit that proved her critics wrong.

Recent Examples of prove from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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



PROVE Defined for English Language Learners

prove

play
verb

Definition of prove for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

prove

play
verb \ ˈprüv \

Definition of prove for Students

proved; proved or proven \ˈprü-vən\; proving
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.

Law Dictionary

prove

play
transitive verb \ ˈprüv \

legal Definition of prove

proved; proved or proven play \ˈprü-vən\; proving
1 :to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of
  • prove a will at probate
2 a :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

provable

play \ˈprü-və-bəl\ adjective

provableness

noun

provably

play \ˈprü-və-blē\ adverb


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