Meaning of “prove” in the English Dictionary

"prove" in British English

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uk /pruːv/ us /pruːv/ proved, proved or MAINLY US proven

prove verb (SHOW)

B2 [ T, L ] to show a particular result after a period of time:

The operation proved a complete success.
The dispute over the song rights proved impossible to resolve.
[ L (+ to be) ] The new treatment has proved to be a disaster.
prove yourself

C2 to show that you are good at something:

I wish he'd stop trying to prove himself all the time.

More examples

  • The army has proved ineffective in protecting the civilian population.
  • The policy of charging air travellers for vegetarian meals proved very unpopular.
  • The government's claim that it would reduce taxes proved false.
  • Such data will prove invaluable to researchers.
  • Your daughter's attitude only goes to prove how much society has changed over the last 30 years.

prove verb (SHOWING TRUTH)

B1 [ T ] to show that something is true:

[ + that ] They suspected that she'd killed him but they could never actually prove that it was her.
[ + adj ] They proved him innocent/guilty.
Under the present system, you're innocent until proven guilty.
[ + question word ] "I lost £30 on the bus." "That just goes to prove what an idiot you are!"
Computers have been used to prove mathematical theorems.
That theory was proved false.
He's so aggressive - it's as if he's always trying to prove something.

More examples

  • It will be very difficult to prove that they are guilty.
  • The crime of rape is notoriously difficult to prove.
  • She only bought that sports car to show off and prove she could afford one.
  • The tape recordings provided enough evidence to prove he'd been involved in the conspiracy.
  • The traces of petrol found on his clothing provided the forensic evidence proving that he had started the fire deliberately.
adjective uk /ˈpruː.vən/ /ˈprəʊ.vən/ us /ˈpruː.vən/

You've got a proven work record, which gives you a big advantage.

(Definition of “prove” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"prove" in American English

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us /pruv/ past participle proved or proven /ˈpru·vən/

prove verb (SHOW)

to show after a time or by experience that something or someone has a particular quality:

[ L ] The dispute over rights to the song could prove impossible to resolve.
[ + to infinitive ] The new safety procedures have so far proven to be satisfactory.
As a newcomer, I felt I had to prove myself (= show I am skilled).

prove verb (MAKE CLEAR)

[ T ] to make it clear that something is or is not true:

They suspected she cheated, but they could never prove it.
[ + (that) clause ] I had to take all my records to the bank to prove (that) the mistake was theirs.
Under our legal system, you’re innocent until proven guilty.
adjective [ not gradable ] us /ˈpru·vən/

You can’t trust him – he’s a proven liar.

(Definition of “prove” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)