(proved; proved or proven; proving)
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French prover, pruver, from Latin probare to test, prove, from probus good, honest, from pro- for, in favor + -bus (akin to Old English bēon to be) — more at pro-, be
Date: 13th century
1. archaic to learn or find out by experience
a. to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of <the exception proves the rule> <prove a will at probate> b. to test the worth or quality of; specifically to compare against a standard — sometimes used with up or out c. to check the correctness of (as an arithmetic result) 3. a. to establish the existence, truth, or validity of (as by evidence or logic) <prove a theorem> <the charges were never proved in court> b. to demonstrate as having a particular quality or worth <the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests> <proved herself a great actress> 4. to show (oneself) to be worthy or capable <eager to prove myself in the new job> intransitive verb to turn out especially after trial or test <the new drug proved effective> • provable adjective • provableness noun • provably adverb • prover noun Usage: The past participle proven, originally the past participle of preve, a Middle English variant of prove that survived in Scotland, has gradually worked its way into standard English over the past three and a half centuries. It seems to have first become established in legal use and to have come only slowly into literary use. Tennyson was one of its earliest frequent users, probably for metrical reasons. It was disapproved by 19th century grammarians, one of whom included it in a list of “words that are not words.” Surveys made some 50 or 60 years ago indicated that proved was about four times as frequent as proven. But our evidence from the last 30 or 35 years shows this no longer to be the case. As a past participle proven is now about as frequent as proved in all contexts. As an attributive adjective <proved or proven gas reserves> proven is much more common than proved.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.