Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: prover, from Latin probare; PROBE2


prove S2 W1 past tense proved, past participle proved or proven especially American English

show something is true

[transitive] to show that something is true by providing facts, information etc [↪ proof]:
You're wrong, and I can prove it.
prove (that)
Tests have proved that the system works.
prove something to somebody
I knew he had done it, but there was no way I could prove it to Eddie.
prove somebody's guilt/innocence
He claims the police destroyed records that could prove the officer's guilt.
prove somebody wrong/innocent etc
They say I'm too old, but I'm going to prove them all wrong.
To prove his point (=show that he was right), he mentioned several other experiments which had produced similar results.
! You prove something to someone: I will prove to you (NOT prove you) that I'm right.


[linking verb] if someone or something proves difficult, helpful, a problem etc, they are difficult, helpful, a problem etc:
The recent revelations may prove embarrassing to the President.
prove to be something
The design proved to be a success.

prove yourself/prove something (to somebody)

to show how good you are at doing something:
When I first started this job, I felt I had to prove myself.

prove yourself (to be) something

to show other people that you are a particular type of person:
She's proved herself to be a very reliable worker.

what is somebody trying to prove?

spoken said when you are annoyed by someone's actions and do not understand them

prove a point

if someone does something to prove a point, they do it to show that they are right or that they can do something:
I'm not going to run the marathon just to prove a point.


[intransitive]DFC if dough (=unbaked bread mixture) proves, it rises and becomes light because of the yeast in it


[transitive] lawSCL to show that a will has been made in the correct way
! Do not use 'prove' to mean 'make something better.' Use improve: a chance to improve your English
provable adjective
people in a court of law: judge, magistrate, jury, defence British English/defense American English, prosecution, defendant, witness, attorney, lawyer, barrister British English, solicitor British English, district attorney American English

what happens in a court case:At the beginning of the trial, the person who is accused pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. The lawyers for the prosecution try to prove that the defendant is guilty, and the lawyers for the defence try to prove that their client is innocent. The judge and the jury examine the evidence and listen to the testimony of the witnesses. At the end of the trial, the judge then sums up the case, and the jury then gives their verdict. If the person is found guilty, the judge sentences them to a period of time in prison, or orders them to pay a fine. If the person is found not guilty, they are released.

See also

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