Definition of prove in English:

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Pronunciation: /pro͞ov/

verb (past participle proved or proven /ˈpro͞ovən/)

1 [with object] Demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument: the concept is difficult to prove (as adjective proven) a proven ability to work hard
More example sentences
  • Illuminating reality without recourse to truth is proving a difficult proposition.
  • It emphasised that ‘the courts are not the place to prove new medical truths’.
  • An indictment is far from a conviction but as Martin Kramer points out, this refusal to recognise inconvenient truths is also proving an indictment on their claims of expertise.
show (to be true), demonstrate (the truth of), show beyond doubt, manifest, produce proof/evidence;
witness to, give substance to, determine, substantiate, corroborate, verify, ratify, validate, authenticate, document, bear out, confirm
formal evince
1.1 [with object and complement] Demonstrate by evidence or argument (someone or something) to be: innocent until proven guilty
More example sentences
  • I've always thought that Scott's innocent until he's proven guilty and I'm going to stick with that.
  • And the last I checked, in the United States, you are innocent until you're proven guilty.
  • In Indiana you are guilty until you are proven innocent, and with that in mind you can keep the skater out of the streets but you cannot keep the street out of the skater.
1.2 Law Establish the genuineness and validity of (a will).
Example sentences
  • The Moores stayed on the homestead long enough to prove it up and get title which would be three years.
  • I'm sure he was wondering who could prove it up, and I started thinking I was going to be called as an adverse witness.
1.3(In homeopathy) demonstrate the action of (a remedy) by seeing what effect it produces in a healthy individual.
1.4 [no object, with complement] Be seen or found to be: the plan has proved a great success
More example sentences
  • Completeness, however, is an elusive goal and proves quite difficult to achieve in the arena of electronic state government information.
  • Optimism proved short-lived, though, as Sheffield scored twice more to earn a convincing victory.
  • But he was determined to prove he could achieve success somehow - and eventually he did.
turn out, be found, happen
1.5 (prove oneself) Demonstrate one’s abilities or courage: a new lieutenant, very green and very desperate to prove himself
More example sentences
  • He says the Executive and SE are right to concentrate on specific business areas, such as life sciences, in which the country has proved itself to have some ability.
  • The intelligence agencies, humiliated by their failure to forestall the attacks, are desperate to prove themselves.
  • He is desperate to prove himself, but may have to wait until later in the season to get the chance.
demonstrate one's abilities/qualities, show one's (true) mettle, show what one is made of
1.6 rare Test the accuracy of (a mathematical calculation).
Example sentences
  • Once academic scientific studies were established they rejected and ridiculed anything spiritual or metaphysical if it could not be proven by a mathematical formula.
  • What no one is yet prepared to do is go on record as saying he has proved the Poincare Conjecture.
  • She proves a well known (to mathematicians!) theorem of homological algebra.
1.7Subject (a gun or other item) to a testing process.
Example sentences
  • Proof marks indicate the soundness of the gun when it was last proved, but the gun may have been so altered that it is unproved in its present state.
  • Each gun is thoroughly proved before it leaves the factory.
2 [no object] (Of bread dough) become aerated by the action of yeast; rise.
Example sentences
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for about two hours in a warm area.
  • When making bread with the fermented dough, the dough must be removed from the fridge at least 2 hours in advance, to allow it to prove.
  • Prove dough for 60-90 minutes until dough passes the finger-tip test.


For complex historical reasons, prove developed two past participles: proved and proven. Both are correct and can be used more or less interchangeably: this hasn’t been proved yet; this hasn’t been proven yet. Proven is the more common form when used as an adjective before the noun it modifies: a proven talent (not a proved talent). Otherwise, the choice between proved and proven is not a matter of correctness, but usually of sound and rhythm—and often, consequently, a matter of familiarity, as in the legal idiom innocent until proven guilty.



Pronunciation: /ˌpro͞ovəˈbilətē/
Example sentences
  • British journalism has taken on an increasingly free-wheeling and risk-taking style of late, with quote of dubious veracity, stories of dubious provability and an increasing tendency to let political bias colour the reporting of news.
  • This is because intuitionist logic takes truth to coincide with direct provability, and it may be that certain statements, such as Goldbach's conjecture in mathematics, are neither provably the case nor provably not the case.
  • While the model of the ‘selfish gene’ provides an interesting intellectual sketch of the motivations behind behavior, it's feasibility / provability is already stretched to its limits.


Pronunciation: /ˈpro͞ovəbəl/
Example sentences
  • According to Drudge, the article exposes several demonstrably provable factual inaccuracies in Brock's book.
  • For example, we might say that we have a theory about why a person committed a crime. The meaning of the word in this context is that the theory is an idea or set of ideas which are not proven or even provable.
  • Evolution is not totally proven (or provable for that matter).


Pronunciation: /ˈpro͞ovəblē/
Example sentences
  • Keeping criminals in prison longer is the only thing that provably helps to protect us from them - something that I have advocated for many years.
  • I left her, I can't deny that and I'm sorry about the pain but so much of what was written is provably untrue.
  • I think he's dead wrong, and provably so in his remarks in the area of climate science, yet I don't think the blogosphere is the best arena for the debate.


Example sentences
  • Coffee, tea, wine, brandy and spices were forbidden to provers and so was chess (which Hahnemann considered too exciting), but beer was allowed and moderate exercise was encouraged.
  • The threshold has to be low, to prevent arbitrary exclusion of reasonable provers, but it cannot be nonzero zero, because in the real world it is hard to check a proof with absolute certainty.
  • The provers must give details of all new bodily sensations, symptoms, dreams, emotional changes, discharges and anything else that may develop after taking the remedy.


Middle English: from Old French prover, from Latin probare 'test, approve, demonstrate', from probus 'good'.

  • proof from Middle English:

    This came via Old French proeve from Latin probare, ‘to test or prove’. Proof spirit or 100 per cent proof spirit was originally defined as a solution of alcohol that will ignite when mixed with gunpowder—in Britain this meant an alcohol content of 57.07 per cent. In the expression the proof of the pudding is in the eating, proof is used in the sense ‘test’ rather than ‘verification, proving to be true’. Probare is also the source of prove (Middle English), probe (Late Middle English), probate (Late Middle English) where you have to prove the will in law, and probation (Late Middle English) which is a form of testing.

Words that rhyme with prove

approve, groove, improve, move, you've

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: prove

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