prove

verb
\ ˈprüv How to pronounce prove (audio) \
proved; proved or proven\ ˈprü-​vən How to pronounce prove (audio) , British also  ˈprō-​ \; proving\ ˈprü-​viŋ How to pronounce prove (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 proved herself a great actress the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests
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

prover \ ˈprü-​vər How to pronounce prove (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 Advocates have warned that the new state law in West Virginia, and the proposal to shutter Scott County syringe program, could prove similarly devastating. Lev Facher, STAT, "Years ago, a syringe exchange helped end a devastating HIV outbreak. Now it might be forced to close," 9 May 2021 For decades, advocates have advanced how necessary this kind of legislation will prove for families and for gender equality. Darren Rosenblum, Forbes, "How The American Families Plan Saves Motherhood," 9 May 2021 Also missing from the rough plans is where to base American forces post-withdrawal, those officials said, and finding hosts could prove challenging. Gordon Lubold, WSJ, "Afghan Pullout Leaves U.S. Looking for Other Places to Station Its Troops," 8 May 2021 Amid weekend rain chances, do try to get outside Saturday when rain chances may prove lowest of the next several days. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Cool weekend ahead, and there are periodic rain chances starting today," 7 May 2021 Preparing for the end of life needn't be morbid, as five minutes spent with Fremont will prove. John Reinan, Star Tribune, "Veteran to veteran, hospice nurses lend special camaraderie to end of life," 7 May 2021 Though researchers could not prove a direct correlation, a 2019 study found that suicides among U.S. kids ages 10 to 17 jumped to a 19-year high in the month following the show's release. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Hollywood has a sordid history with portrayals of mental illness. It's trying to do better.," 7 May 2021 Harry’s knocked unconscious and carted off by an ambulance, but his injuries prove minor. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Four Rarities from the TCM Festival," 7 May 2021 And being too Trumpy could ultimately prove detrimental down the line, Sabato argued. Kendall Karson, ABC News, "'Trumpy, Trumpier and Trumpiest': Virginia GOP to vote on nominee for governor in post-Trump era," 7 May 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prove.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prove. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on prove

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prove

Nglish: Translation of prove for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prove for Arabic Speakers

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