[ proov ]
See synonyms for: proveprovedprovenproves on

verb (used with object),proved, proved or prov·en, prov·ing.
  1. to establish the truth or genuineness of, as by evidence or argument: to prove one's claim.

  2. Law. to establish the authenticity or validity of (a will); probate.

  1. to give demonstration of by action.

  2. to subject to a test, experiment, comparison, analysis, or the like, to determine quality, amount, acceptability, characteristics, etc.: to prove ore.

  3. to show (oneself) to have the character or ability expected of one, especially through one's actions.

  4. Mathematics. to verify the correctness or validity of by mathematical demonstration or arithmetical proof.

  5. Also proof. Printing. to take a trial impression of (type, a cut, etc.).

  6. to cause (dough) to rise to the necessary lightness.

  7. Archaic. to experience.

verb (used without object),proved, proved or prov·en, prov·ing.
  1. to turn out: The experiment proved to be successful.

  2. to be found by trial or experience to be: His story proved false.

  1. (of dough) to rise to a specified lightness: Leave covered until it has proved.

Origin of prove

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English proven, from Old French prover, from Latin probāre “to try, test, prove, approve,” derivative of probus “good.” See probity

usage note For prove

Either proved or proven is standard as the past participle of prove : Events have proved (or proven ) him wrong. As a modifier, proven is by far the more common: a proven fact.

word story For prove

The idiom “The exception proves the rule” comes direct from the Roman statesman, lawyer, orator, and man of letters Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 b.c.) in a speech he wrote and delivered, Pro Balbo, in 56 b.c., as defense counsel for Lucius Cornelius Balbo Major (“Senior”). The full Latin sentence is exceptiō probat rēgulam in cāsibus non exceptīs “The exception tests the rule in cases that are not excepted,” which makes clear the implied existence of a general rule: for example, “No parking on Saturdays and Sundays” implies that parking is allowed the other five days of the week. Most often, however, the amputated sentence “The exception proves the rule” allows the meaning to be “The exception validates the rule.”

Other words for prove

Opposites for prove

Other words from prove

  • prov·a·ble, adjective
  • prov·a·bil·i·ty, prov·a·ble·ness, noun
  • prov·a·bly, adverb
  • prov·en·ly, adverb
  • prover, noun
  • half-proved, adjective
  • half-proven, adjective
  • non·prov·a·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·prove, verb (used with object), o·ver·proved, o·ver·proved or o·ver·prov·en, o·ver·prov·ing.
  • pre·prove, verb (used with object), pre·proved, pre·proved or pre·prov·en, pre·prov·ing.
  • self-proving, adjective
  • sem·i·prov·en, adjective
  • un·prov·a·ble, adjective
  • un·proved, adjective
  • un·prov·en, adjective
  • un·prov·ing, adjective
  • well-proved, adjective
  • well-proven, adjective

Words Nearby prove Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prove in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prove


/ (pruːv) /

verbproves, proving, proved, proved or proven (mainly tr)
  1. (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to establish or demonstrate the truth or validity of; verify, esp by using an established sequence of procedures or statements

  2. to establish the quality of, esp by experiment or scientific analysis

  1. law to establish the validity and genuineness of (a will)

  2. to show (oneself) able or courageous

  3. (copula) to be found or shown (to be): this has proved useless; he proved to be invaluable

  4. printing to take a trial impression of (type, etc)

  5. (intr) (of dough) to rise in a warm place before baking

  6. archaic to undergo

Origin of prove

C12: from Old French prover, from Latin probāre to test, from probus honest

Derived forms of prove

  • provable, adjective
  • provability, noun
  • provably, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with prove


In addition to the idiom beginning with prove

  • prove out

also see:

  • exception proves the rule

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.