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 Criminal charges were later dismissed when a Douglas County judge ruled that the evidence didn’t prove that Blood reacted recklessly to the situation. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, "Daunte Wright shooting: Other officers have mistaken their guns for stun guns," 15 Apr. 2021 As Oklahoma officials seek to resume putting prisoners to death later this year, McDugle has pursued bills in the state legislature to help those on death row prove their innocence, knowing Glossip could be among the first facing execution. Maurice Chammah And Keri Blakinger, USA TODAY, "Should America's death penalty system be fixed? More Republican lawmakers think so," 15 Apr. 2021 The war was barely mentioned during last year's presidential contest, and pulling the plug may prove politically popular. Robert Burns, Star Tribune, "Analysis: Biden takes a risk pulling troops from Afghanistan," 14 Apr. 2021 Clemmons knows our habits may prove hard to change entirely. Christopher Mosley, Dallas News, "Melanie Clemmons’ exhibition at the Nasher examines how the internet is changing us," 13 Apr. 2021 That mission is central to Mr. Biden’s foreign policy, and will perhaps prove nowhere more pivotal than in his global competition with China. Lara Jakes, New York Times, "After Backing Military Force in Past, U.S.A.I.D. Nominee Focuses on Deploying Soft Power," 13 Apr. 2021 Woodson can further prove Knight’s love with a tale of another, more awkward car ride with the iconic coach. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "Mike Woodson era at IU basketball comes with warm embrace of Bob Knight years," 13 Apr. 2021 Those who can’t prove their age face potential expulsion to Mexico. Anchorage Daily News, "The things migrants carried — and dropped — as they crossed the border," 11 Apr. 2021 In between, President Joe Biden launched new efforts at gun control, while his son, Hunter, continued his book tour, showing a remarkably clear memory for some details but conveniently sketchy on others that may prove incriminating. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "From 'Woke-A-Cola' to 'pants were the problem': Quotes of the Week," 10 Apr. 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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prove.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prove. Accessed 17 Apr. 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

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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

Comments on prove

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