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See also: provén and prøven



From Scottish English, as past participle of preve, a Middle English variant of prove[1][2] – compare woven (from weave) and cloven (from cleave),[1] both of which feature -eve-oven. Preve died out in England, but survived in Scotland, where proven developed, initially in a legal context, as in “The jury ruled that the charges were not proven.”[1] See usage notes for historical usage patterns.

Earlier, from Late Latin probō (test, try, examine, approve, show to be good or fit, prove, verb), from Latin probus (good, worthy, excellent), from Proto-Indo-European *pro-bʰuH-s (being in front, prominent), from *pro-, *per- (toward) + *bʰuH- (to be).

Morphologically prove +‎ -n.


  • (UK) enPR: pro͞oʹvən, prōʹvən, IPA(key): /ˈpɹuːvən/, /ˈpɹəʊvən/ (Can we verify(+) this pronunciation?)
  • (file)
  • (US) enPR: pro͞oʹvən, IPA(key): /ˈpɹuvən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːvən, -əʊvən
  • Hyphenation: prov‧en


proven (comparative more proven, superlative most proven)

  1. Having been proved; having proved its value or truth.
    It's a proven fact that morphine is a more effective painkiller than acetaminophen is.
    Mass lexical comparison is not a proven method for demonstrating relationships between languages.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



  1. (proscribed) past participle of prove

Usage notes[edit]

As the past participle of prove, proven is often discouraged, with proved preferred — “have proved” rather than “have proven”. That prescription is, however, rarely observed in practice in American and Canadian English, where both forms are equally common in everyday use. In British English “have proved” is more common,[3][1][2] although both forms are used and considered correct. Note as well the somewhat comparable differences in conjugation with “have snuck” (American English and Canadian English) as opposed to “have sneaked” (British English), with regional exceptions.

Historically, proved is the older form, while proven arose as a Scottish variant — see etymology. Used in legal writing from the mid-17th century, it entered literary usage more slowly, only becoming significant in the 19th century, with the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson among the earliest frequent users (presumably for reasons of meter).[2] In the 19th century, proven was widely discouraged, and remained significantly less common through the mid-20th century (proved being used approximately four times as often); by the late 20th century it came to be used about equally often in US English.[2]

As an attributive adjective, proven is much[2][3] more commonly used (as in “a proven method”),[1] whilst use of proved (as in *“a proved method”) is widely considered an error — although by the usual grammatical rules it would not be an error.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 “prove”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, →ISBN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 prove”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  3. 3.0 3.1 prove”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  • Paul Brians (2009) “proved”, in Common Errors in English Usage, 2nd edition, Wilsonville, Or.: William, James & Company, →ISBN.





  1. third-person plural present indicative of provar





  1. plural of prove