[ proov ]
/ pruv /
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See synonyms for: prove / proved / proven / proves on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), proved, proved or prov·en, prov·ing.
verb (used without object), proved, proved or prov·en, prov·ing.
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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.

historical usage of 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.”


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between proved and proven?

Proved and proven are both acceptable past participle forms of the verb prove. This means they can both be used in constructions that are classified as present perfect (as in I have proved or I have proven) or past perfect (as in I had proved or I had proven).

In these cases, these past participle forms are paired with a form of the helping verb (auxiliary verb) has. However, they can also be used in passive constructions that don’t use a helping verb, as in It was proved or It was proven.

While proved can also be used as the simple past tense form of prove, as in You proved me wrong, proven cannot (for example, it would be ungrammatical to say You proven me wrong).

Though both words can technically be used as adjectives, proven is far more commonly used this way, as in a proven method or a proven fact.

Here’s an example of proved and proven used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: This study has proved that it often takes a long period of time for things that have been scientifically proven to be accepted as proven facts by a majority of people.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between proved and proven.

Quiz yourself on proved vs. proven!

Would proved or proven be more likely to be used in the following sentence?

It is a _____ fact that the earth is round.

How to use prove in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prove

/ (pruːv) /

verb proves, proving, proved, proved or proven (mainly tr)

Derived forms of prove

provable, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with prove


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