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

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 the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests proved herself a great actress
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

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 His final regular-season start was against the Cleveland Browns, who proved equally clueless. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "The Ravens beat the Bengals a month ago, but a rare rematch could be tricky: ‘They play out a lot differently’," 8 Nov. 2019 Even better was the fact that in each case, two women with different bra sizes ended up liking the same style, proving its wearability. Kathryn Wirsing, Marie Claire, "Strapless Bras That Exceeded Our Expectations," 7 Nov. 2019 Per the Norman Rockwell Museum, which is also located in Stockbridge, rendering all the architectural details of the town’s Main Street proved to be an intimidating task. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Victorian Property Featured in an Iconic Norman Rockwell Painting Is Now on Sale," 7 Nov. 2019 The future proved Bryce wrong here; the ensuing century gave us both Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan. Jon Meacham, Time, "The Impeachment Inquiry Is About More Than Donald Trump — It’s About Who We Are as Americans," 7 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, attempts to compete on low-cost long haul flights have also proved challenging: Norwegian Air’s record third-quarter profits came after aggressive cuts, coupled with a two-year repayment delay from bondholders. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "European airlines are confronting the same grim reality their US counterparts faced decades ago," 6 Nov. 2019 As Game of Thrones proved, Targaryens and Starks just don't mix. Ani Bundel, Ars Technica, "House of the Dragon," 5 Nov. 2019 Deals like that could become more common if the commission proves to be influential. Wired, "Report: The Government and Tech Need to Cooperate on AI," 5 Nov. 2019 Wilson served a suspension that proved to be seven games for breaking university rules the year before. Dom Amore, courant.com, "What went right, what went wrong for the UConn men’s basketball team in 2018-19," 4 Nov. 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prove

Statistics for prove

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce prove (audio)

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

strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!