Open main menu
See also: -proof, prof, and Prof.



English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Middle English proof, from Old French prove, from Late Latin proba (a proof), from Latin probare (to prove); see prove.



proof (countable and uncountable, plural proofs)

  1. (countable) An effort, process, or operation designed to establish or discover a fact or truth; an act of testing; a test; a trial.
    • 1591, Edmund Spenser, Prosopopoia: or, Mother Hubbard's Tale, later also published in William Michael Rossetti, Humorous Poems,
      But the false Fox most kindly played his part,
      For whatsoever mother-wit or art
      Could work he put in proof. No practice sly,
      No counterpoint of cunning policy,
      No reach, no breach, that might him profit bring.
      But he the same did to his purpose wring.
    • c. 1633, John Ford, Love's Sacrifice, Act 1, Scene 1,
      France I more praise and love; you are, my lord,
      Yourself for horsemanship much famed; and there
      You shall have many proofs to shew your skill.
    • 1831, Thomas Thomson, A System of Chemistry of Inorganic Bodies, Volume 2,
      A given quantity of the spirits was poured upon a quantity of gunpowder in a dish and set on fire. If at the end of the combustion, the gunpowder continued dry enough, it took fire and exploded; but if it had been wetted by the water in the spirits, the flame of the alcohol went out without setting the powder on fire. This was called the proof.
  2. (uncountable) The degree of evidence which convinces the mind of any truth or fact, and produces belief; a test by facts or arguments which induce, or tend to induce, certainty of the judgment; conclusive evidence; demonstration.
  3. The quality or state of having been proved or tried; firmness or hardness which resists impression, or does not yield to force; impenetrability of physical bodies.
  4. (obsolete) Experience of something.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.1:
      But the chaste damzell, that had never priefe / Of such malengine and fine forgerye, / Did easely beleeve her strong extremitye.
  5. (uncountable, obsolete) Firmness of mind; stability not to be shaken.
  6. (countable, printing) A proof sheet; a trial impression, as from type, taken for correction or examination.
  7. (countable, logic, mathematics) A sequence of statements consisting of axioms, assumptions, statements already demonstrated in another proof, and statements that logically follow from previous statements in the sequence, and which concludes with a statement that is the object of the proof.
  8. (countable, mathematics) A process for testing the accuracy of an operation performed. Compare prove, transitive verb, 5.
  9. (obsolete) Armour of excellent or tried quality, and deemed impenetrable; properly, armour of proof.
  10. (US) A measure of the alcohol content of liquor. Originally, in Britain, 100 proof was defined as 57.1% by volume (not used anymore). In the US, 100 proof means that the alcohol content is 50% of the total volume of the liquid, and thus, absolute alcohol would be 200 proof.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


proof (comparative more proof, superlative most proof)

  1. Used in proving or testing.
    a proof load; a proof charge
  2. Firm or successful in resisting.
    proof against harm
    waterproof; bombproof.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Fourth”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398, lines 528–533, page 130:
      And opportunity I here have had / To try thee, ſift thee, and confeſs have found thee / Proof againſt all temptation as a rock / Of Adamant, and, as a Center, firm / To the utmoſt of meer man both wiſe and good, / Not more; []
    • 1790, Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1803, The Works of The Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Volume 5, page426,
      This was a good, ſtout proof article of faith, pronounced under an anathema, by the venerable fathers of this philoſophick ſynod.
  3. (of alcoholic liquors) Being of a certain standard as to alcohol content.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for proof in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Derived termsEdit



proof (third-person singular simple present proofs, present participle proofing, simple past and past participle proofed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, colloquial) To proofread.
  2. (transitive) To make resistant, especially to water.
  3. (transitive, cooking) To allow yeast-containing dough to rise.
  4. (transitive, cooking) To test the activeness of yeast.

Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit