Definition of proof in English:

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Pronunciation: /pruːf/


1 [mass noun] Evidence or argument establishing a fact or the truth of a statement: you will be asked to give proof of your identity [count noun]: this is not a proof for the existence of God
More example sentences
  • That's completely absurd and there's no proof to validate that statement.
  • It is too easy to find fault, to point a finger, without any facts or proof.
  • Always check the seller's identity by asking for proof of name and address and be wary of sellers who want to meet you anywhere other than their home.
evidence, verification, corroboration, authentication, confirmation, certification, validation, attestation, demonstration, substantiation, witness, testament;
documentation, facts, data, testimony;
1.1 Law The spoken or written evidence in a trial.
Example sentences
  • Counsel set out parts of the appellant's proof of evidence available at the trial.
  • Until the evidentiary threshold of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is reached, the judge and the Constitution order the jury to acquit.
  • In a criminal case you need to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
1.2The action of establishing the truth of a statement: spatial dimensions whose very existence is beyond all hope of proof
More example sentences
  • As a result, it seemed to them that the objectivity of scientific knowledge was no longer capable of proof.
1.3 [count noun] A series of stages in the resolution of a mathematical or philosophical problem.
Example sentences
  • An argument becomes a proof when the mathematical community agrees it is such.
  • Mathematical proofs of conjectures, however, require more than overwhelming numerical evidence.
  • His main work involved applying philosophy to mathematics, the philosophy taking precedence over rigorous mathematical proofs.
2 Printing A trial impression of a page, taken from type or film and used for making corrections before final printing.
Example sentences
  • I was scheduled to spend much of the day correcting the final proofs of my forthcoming biography, Nehru: The Invention of India.
  • I turned the pages and noted all the red correction marks on my proofs, cradling my pounding head in my hands.
  • I had before me a stack of final proofs to approve, but under the circumstances it was nearly impossible to read them; every word seemed trivial in comparison to the horrific tragedy.
page proof, galley proof, galley, pull, slip, trial print;
2.1A trial photographic print made for initial selection.
Example sentences
  • The trial proofs were rejected, and the finished photographs never made.
  • About 6000 of Robert's negatives and picture proofs are held by the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.
  • I found your article on the value of so-called artist's proofs extremely interesting.
2.2Each of a number of impressions from an engraved plate, especially (in commercial printing) of a limited number before the ordinary issue is printed and before an inscription or signature is added.
Example sentences
  • He owned eight paintings and fourteen drawings, nine etchings on Japanese paper, fifty-nine separate proofs and an almost complete set of his prints.
  • Oscar Marshall may also have offered a limited number of hand-signed proofs.
  • Dürer published quite large numbers of his woodcut series in proofs before text on the reverse of the sheet.
2.3A specially struck specimen coin with a polished or frosted finish.
3 [mass noun] The strength of distilled alcoholic spirits, relative to proof spirit taken as a standard of 100: [in combination]: powerful 132-proof rum
More example sentences
  • Your liver processes alcohol out of your system at an average rate of about 1.5 ounces of 80 proof alcohol an hour.
  • Before aging, bourbon's proof must be lowered to no higher than 125 proof using distilled water.
  • This hand-selected whiskey was bottled at 94 proof in elegantly sculpted decanters.
4A test or trial of something.
5 Scots Law A trial or a civil case before a judge without a jury.


1Able to withstand something damaging; resistant: the marine battle armour was proof against most weapons [in combination]: the system comes with idiot-proof instructions
More example sentences
  • Inclinations towards freedom, however, are not proof against systematic countermeasures.
  • Maybe it's just as well that we have these idiot-proof tills, because without them the numerically challenged would be all but unemployable and we'd have to support them through a lifetime on the dole.
  • Work has protected wildlife along the route, including measures to keep a colony of protected great crested newts safe, badger tunnels and deer-proof fencing.
resistant, impenetrable, impervious, repellent;
proofed, treated;
waterproof, windproof, rainproof, leakproof, damp-proof, weatherproof, bulletproof, bombproof, fireproof, soundproof, childproof, tamper-proof
rare imperviable
2Denoting a trial impression of a page or printed work: a proof copy is sent up for checking
More example sentences
  • Then a set of proof prints is sent to the artist to review.
  • Having been sent an early proof copy, I have already been using it for some months.
  • Accompanying the CD-R is a set of proof pages that the printer can use to make sure that the magazine that is being printed matches the sample pages.


[with object]
1Make (fabric) waterproof: (as adjective proofed) the flysheet is made from proofed nylon
More example sentences
  • You can spray the line with silicone line float (or I use the silicone sprays used for proofing nylon tents).
2Make a proof of (a printed work, engraving, etc.): (as noun proofing) proofing could be done on a low-cost printer
More example sentences
  • When their concepts were finalized, students made a working model by proofing their work in black and white on the artroom's laser printer.
  • So sketches were sketched, proofs were proofed, copies were bound.
  • As they become available from Weblications, the company scanning and proofing them, they will be put up for readers to consult.
2.1Proofread (a text): William proofed much of her work
More example sentences
  • Together we evolved a monthly theme, subbed, rewrote and proofed the magazine.
  • If you are not the best at proofing your own documents, have an eagle-eyed assistant or colleague on hand to review them for you.
  • Her mother was already at the table proofing the documents she would need that day for her board meeting.
3North American Activate (yeast) by the addition of liquid: proof the yeast with the teaspoon of sugar
More example sentences
  • This morning's recipe was the first he'd found that called for proofing the yeast with warm water and sugar; previous methods had called, somewhat illogically, for the yeast to be added dry to the flour.
3.1Knead (dough) until light and smooth.
3.2 [no object] (Of dough) prove: shape into a baguette and let proof for a few minutes
More example sentences
  • If you're proofing at higher temperatures, your dough will rise faster, so you'll need to keep an eye on it.
  • Brush lightly with egg wash, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to proof until double in volume, about 30 minutes.


the proof of the pudding is in the eating

proverb The real value of something can be judged only from practical experience or results and not from appearance or theory.
Example sentences
  • ‘The only thing that matters out here is results and I think you'll find that the proof of the pudding is in the eating,’ he said.
  • Whatever about the argument in theory before the films were made, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I suspect that few new Beckett fans will have been created by the series.
  • I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating.





Middle English preve, from Old French proeve, from late Latin proba, from Latin probare 'to test, prove'. The change of vowel in late Middle English was due to the influence of prove. Current senses of the verb date from the late 19th century.

  • 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 proof

aloof, behoof, goof, hoof, pouffe, roof, shadoof, spoof, Tartuffe, underproof, woof

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: proof

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