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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web This is a tried and proven method for small store owners to build a larger and more loyal customer base. BostonGlobe.com, "Should Massachusetts lift its ban on coupons for beer, wine, and liquor?," 6 Dec. 2019 But what lay underneath the old school house proved to be of more interest to archaeologists—the ruins of a considerably older structure which once served as a covert church for Catholics living in the south inner city. Fox News, "Ancient Catholic 'covert church' discovered in Dublin, buried under old schoolhouse," 5 Dec. 2019 A few days later, he was struck by a subarachnoid hemorrhage – bleeding in his brain stem that could have proved fatal. Darlene Aderoju, PEOPLE.com, "Poison's Bret Michaels Talks New Tour with Mötley Crüe & Def Leppard: 'Work Hard, Party Harder'," 5 Dec. 2019 His criticism, of course, comes at a crucial juncture for his campaign, where missing the debate stage could prove unrecoverable. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Democrats Ask: Do We Really Want an All-White Final Four?," 5 Dec. 2019 The tax was implemented in 2011 and in its early years proved to be a financial benefit to the hospitals. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Gov. Ned Lamont, hospitals reach agreement on long-running lawsuit," 5 Dec. 2019 Here's a dozen ideas that will score big with the gamers on your list: Death Stranding (PlayStation 4) Gaming auteur Hideo Kojima's latest opus Death Stranding proved controversial from the start. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Gift Guide: Winning Presents for the Video Gamers on Your List," 5 Dec. 2019 University of Tasmania professor Pete Strutton said that WMO data proving high concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere shows that drastic cuts in CO2 output will no longer be enough to prevent warming by 3°C. Chelsea Harvey, Science | AAAS, "Greenhouse gas emissions this year to set new record, but rate of growth shrinks," 4 Dec. 2019 The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman believes that these experimental observations prove that consciousness is fundamental to reality. Meghan O’gieblyn, The New Yorker, "Do We Have Minds of Our Own?," 4 Dec. 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.

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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

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prove.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proving?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=p&file=prove003. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

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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

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