From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishproveprove /pruːv/ ●●● S2 W1 verb (past tense proved, past participle proved or proven /ˈpruːvən/ especially American English) 1 show something is true [transitive]PROVE 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.GrammarYou prove something to someone: I will prove to you that I’m right. ✗Don’t say: I will prove you that I’m right.2 be [linking verb]BE 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 is a linking verb in this meaning. This type of verb links the subject of the sentence with an adjective or noun: The task proved difficult.He has proved a loyal friend. You can also say: The task proved to be difficult.He has proved to be a loyal friend.3 → prove yourself/prove something (to somebody)4 → prove yourself (to be) something5 → what is somebody trying to prove?6 → prove a point7 bread [intransitive]DFC if dough (=unbaked bread mixture) proves, it rises and becomes light because of the yeast in it8 law [transitive] lawSCL to show that a will has been made in the correct way —provable adjectiveCOLLOCATIONSnounsprove somebody’s guilt/innocenceThere was no way she could prove her innocence.prove the existence of somethingThese pictures do not prove the existence of water on Mars.prove a theoryNo evidence emerged to prove either theory.prove your caseThe state had failed to prove its case.prove your pointTo prove her point, Dr Hurdal showed her audience a scan of a patient’s brain.phrasesprove somebody wrong/rightSee if you can prove me wrong.prove somebody guilty/innocentThe law states that you are innocent until proved guilty.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusprove• His guilt has never been conclusively proven.• Until there is evidence to prove any of these claims, we cannot pass judgement.• To prove her point, Garth cites a book by John Quincy Adams.• I would love to prove him wrong.• And that may in the end prove inadequate for any unforeseeable expenses.• I'm telling the truth, and I can prove it to you.• We're sure Jason took the money, but we can't prove it.• Meadows' career in acting would prove relatively short, however.• He wanted to prove that he was just as clever as his sister.• The managers soon recognized they had to prove that they deserved their subordinates' respect and trust.• Can you prove that you were at home at the time of the attack?• He claims the police destroyed records that could prove the officer's guilt.• Employees must forge their own career paths, seek out promotions and prove their worth every single day.• Don't trust anyone who turns up at your door, unless they can prove who they are.• They both felt that all the preparation had proved worthwhile.• I can only hope I am proved wrong: things have gone too far to turn back the tide.prove his point• He needed some nice girl of Anthony's age to prove his point.• Instances from Maryland proved his point.• One even brought his children out to prove his point.• So far, at least, one could say that Mr Goodman had proved his point.• Gore's determination to prove his point and claim the prize before the electoral college certification on December 12 has been unswerving.• The new federal building going up on West Congress proves his point, he says.• Half an hour after the inspector left, as if to prove his point, the lavatory refused to flush.prove to be something• But the pool table proved to be a bigger bone of contention.• It will certainly prove to be a photogenic spot once things get rolling.• It would prove to be a real test of my resolve.• It was a nice idea and had some basis in reality, however wrong it proved to be in the end.• The organisation may prove to be inflexible and unable to respond to changing circumstances. 4.• That assurance proved to be more valuable than any particular body of knowledge I learned that year.• And in this case, the truth proved to be powerful indeed.• Belbin's description of team roles has proved to be very useful, especially in creating teams for specific purposes.