verb (used with object), proved, proved or prov·en, prov·ing.

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

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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unprovable

Historical Examples of unprovable

  • He does not specify this unprovable, complex, unplausible, and useless hypothesis.

    Flowers of Freethought

    George W. Foote

  • That the unprovable is necessarily the unknowable, a thousand beliefs deny.

    There and Back

    George MacDonald

  • It is undemonstrated and unproved—in fact, may truthfully be said to be undemonstrable and unprovable.

    Dynamic Thought

    William Walker Atkinson

  • The heaven of the churches and chapels is remote, unprovable, and cannot affect her in the smallest degree.

  • By “first principles” you mean the indubitably true but unprovable elementary principles of all our knowledge.

    Essays in Rationalism

    Charles Robert Newman

British Dictionary definitions for unprovable


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

(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
to establish the quality of, esp by experiment or scientific analysis
law to establish the validity and genuineness of (a will)
to show (oneself) able or courageous
(copula) to be found or shown (to be)this has proved useless; he proved to be invaluable
printing to take a trial impression of (type, etc)
(intr) (of dough) to rise in a warm place before baking
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 unprovable



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 unprovable


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.