the proof of the pudding is in the eating

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Alternative forms[edit]


This proverb dates back at least to the 14th century as "Jt is ywrite that euery thing Hymself sheweth in the tastyng", and William Camden stated it in 1605 in Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine as "All the proofe of a pudding, is in the eating", per Rogers' Dictionary of Cliche and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.[1]

A 1682 translation of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux Le Lutrin (written between 1672 and 1674) renders it "The proof of th' pudding's seen i' the eating."[2]

The current phrasing is generally attributed to the 1701 translation by Peter Anthony Motteux[3] of a proverb Miguel de Cervantes used in Don Quixote (1615),[4] al freír de los huevos lo verá (you will see it when you fry the eggs).[5]

The shorter form the proof is in the pudding, which is found in an 1867 issue of the British Farmer's Magazine,[6] and came into common use in the United States in the 1950s, is becoming increasingly common, despite missing the point of the original meaning.[7][8]


the proof of the pudding is in the eating

  1. One can only claim that something is a success after it has been tried out or used.
    I know you didn't think it was a very good product, but just look at the fantastic sales figures. That's the proof of the pudding.
    • 1951 April, Stirling Everard, “A Matter of Pedigree”, in Railway Magazine, number 600, page 274:
      This is an armchair criticism, and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
    • 1963, Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate for Change 1953-1956[2], Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, →LCCN, →OCLC, →OL, page 503:
      Meeting at Geneva
      The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
      -Traditional aphorism
    • 2019 October 23, Pip Dunn, “The next king of Scotland”, in RAIL, page 50:
      It begs the question: will this be a costly mistake? I think not, but the proof of the pudding is in a RAIL train test - so armed with stopwatch, measuring tape and notepad, it was time to head north to track one down and test it!
    • 2023 July 20, “Sri Lanka passes anti-corruption bill as part of IMF bailout plan”, in Al Jazeera[3]:
      “We welcome the law [Anti-Corruption Bill], but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating,” said Sankhitha Gunaratne, deputy executive director of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL).



  1. ^ Proof of the pudding (
  2. ^ Re: Correct Cliche (Joel Wolfson, Imagelib mailing list, Monday, 10 June 1996)
  3. ^ Gary Martin (1997–) “Proof of the pudding”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 26 February 2017.
  4. ^ The proof of the pudding is [in] the eating. by Miguel de Cervantes (Quoteworld)
  5. ^ New Boundaries in Old Territory. Emory Studies in Early Christianity, volume 3, footnote 107
  6. ^ “The Manchester and Liverpool Agricultural Society: Meeting at Manchester”, in Farmer's Magazine[1], London, 1867, page 294:
    Following the example of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, instead of one of the more wide-awake maxims of our great-grandfathers, which teaches us that when we cannot get one thing to make the best use of the other, the meeting appointed to be held at Stourport last year was abandoned; although, as the proof is in the pudding, as seen at this and other gatherings, there was ample material even without cattle, to make a capital show.
  7. ^ Michael Quinion (March 13, 2004) “Proof of the pudding”, in World Wide Words.
  8. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary, According to Ask Yahoo, "the proof is in the pudding" come from?", Tue 03 Sep 2002.