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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.
  3. to give demonstration of by action.
  4. to subject to a test, experiment, comparison, analysis, or the like, to determine quality, amount, acceptability, characteristics, etc.: to prove ore.
  5. to show (oneself) to have the character or ability expected of one, especially through one's actions.
  6. Mathematics. to verify the correctness or validity of by mathematical demonstration or arithmetical proof.
  7. Also proof. Printing. to take a trial impression of (type, a cut, etc.).
  8. to cause (dough) to rise to the necessary lightness.
  9. 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.
  3. (of dough) to rise to a specified lightness: Leave covered until it has proved.

Origin of prove

1125–75; Middle English proven < Old French prover < Latin probāre to try, test, prove, approve, derivative of probus good. See probity
Related formsprov·a·ble, adjectiveprov·a·bil·i·ty, prov·a·ble·ness, nounprov·a·bly, adverbprov·en·ly, adverbprov·er, nounhalf-proved, adjectivehalf-prov·en, adjectivenon·prov·a·ble, adjectiveo·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-prov·ing, adjectivesem·i·prov·en, adjectiveun·prov·a·ble, adjectiveun·proved, adjectiveun·prov·en, adjectiveun·prov·ing, adjectivewell-proved, adjectivewell-prov·en, adjective

Synonyms for prove

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Antonyms for prove

Usage note

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prove

Contemporary Examples of prove

Historical Examples of prove

  • As for this new edict, it will prove a rebounding arrow, striking him who sent it.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Everything combines to prove the accuracy of my observations.

    The Lamplighter

    Charles Dickens

  • "I'll prove to you that I am worthy of your trust," she said with shining eyes.

  • "I think this job is going to prove worth while," he returned.

  • We prove that we are nearer the truth by our greater command of the Father's resources.

British Dictionary definitions for prove


verb proves, 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
  3. law to establish the validity and genuineness of (a will)
  4. to show (oneself) able or courageous
  5. (copula) to be found or shown (to be)this has proved useless; he proved to be invaluable
  6. printing to take a trial impression of (type, etc)
  7. (intr) (of dough) to rise in a warm place before baking
  8. archaic to undergo
Derived Formsprovable, adjectiveprovability, nounprovably, adverb

Word Origin for prove

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

Word Origin and History for prove

late 12c., pruven, proven "to try, test; evaluate; demonstrate," from Old French prover, pruver "show; convince; put to the test" (11c., Modern French prouver), from Latin probare "to make good; esteem, represent as good; make credible, show, demonstrate; test, inspect; judge by trial" (source also of Spanish probar, Italian probare), from probus "worthy, good, upright, virtuous," from PIE *pro-bhwo- "being in front," from *pro-, extended form of root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per), + root *bhu- "to be" (cf. Latin fui "I have been," futurus "about to be;" Old English beon "to be;" see be). Related: Proved; proven; proving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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.