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”).
- (UK) enPR: pro͞oʹvən, prōʹvən, IPA(key): /ˈpɹuːvən/, /ˈpɹəʊvən/
- (US) enPR: pro͞oʹvən, IPA(key): /ˈpɹuvən/
- Rhymes: -uːvən, -əʊvən
- Hyphenation: prov‧en
- 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.
- 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.
As the past participle of prove, proven is often discouraged, with proved preferred – “have proved” rather than “have proven”. However, they are both about equally common in everyday use in US English. Both are used and considered correct in UK English, but “have proved” is more common.
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). 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.
- “proved” in Paul Brians, Common Errors in English Usage, 2nd rev. and exp. edition, Wilsonville, Or.: William, James & Company, 2009, →ISBN.