- The definition of proven is something that has been verified or authenticated.
An example of proven is the fact of the earth being round; proven fact.
(comparative more proven, superlative most proven)
- 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.
- (having been proved): unproven
- (often discouraged) Past participle of prove
- Past participle of proove
As the past participle of prove, proven is often discouraged, with proved preferred – “have proved” rather than “have proven”. However, today in everyday use they are both used, about equally.
Historically, proved is the older form, while proven arose as a Scottish variant – see etymology. Used in legal writing from 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). 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.
As an attributive adjective, proven is much more commonly used, and proved is widely considered an error – “a proven method”, not *“a proved method”.
From Scottish English, as past participle of preve, a Middle English variant of prove – compare woven (from weave) and cloven (from cleave), 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.” 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 probus (“good, worthy, excellent”), from Proto-Indo-European *pro-bhwo- (“being in front, prominent”), from Proto-Indo-European *pro-, *per- (“toward”) + Proto-Indo-European *bhu- (“to be”).
Variant of prove
transitive verbproved, proved or proven, proving
- to test by experiment, a standard, etc.; subject to a testing process; try out
- to establish as true; demonstrate to be a fact
- to establish the validity or authenticity of (esp. a will)
- to show (oneself) to be capable, dependable, etc.
- Archaic to experience; learn or know by experience
- Math. to test or verify the correctness of (a calculation, etc.)
- Printing to take a proof of (type, etc.)
Origin of proveMiddle English proven ; from Old French prover ; from Classical Latin probare: see probe
- to be found or shown by experience or trial; turn out to be: a guess that proved right
- Archaic to make trial
the exception proves the rule