A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

Prove, Profe, Pruve, Prufe, v. Also: prov, proove, prow(e, prouve; pruive, pruwe; preuve, proif(e, proof; pruf(f, pruffe, pruif(e, pruiff(e, prwif(f. P.t. and p.p. provit, -yt, -ed, -yd, prowit, -yt, -yd(e, prof(f)it, -yt, pruvit, pruwyt, -yde, pruit, pruf(f)it, -yt, prwiffit; preuv'd; prouvet; also Prute; (provin etc., see Prev(e v.1). [ME prouwe (c1175), prove (c1200), prof (Manning), prufe (15th c.), e.m.E. prove, prouve, proove, prooeyve (16th c.), p.t. prouwede (12th c.), proved (14th c.), prooved (1560), p.p. i)proved (1297), provit, prowid, proved (15th c.), provyd (1517), OF prover (11th c. in Littré), prouver (1246 in Walth.-Wartb.), L. probāre: cf. Prev(e v.1] To try, test, prove, in various senses of Prev(e v.1

I. 1. tr. To establish the worth of (a person or a quality or attribute of a person) by trial; to put to test, try, test. = Prev(e v.1 1. Also absol. Also, latterly, to subject to severe trial or affliction, to afflict. To se hir lemmen that sho lufit In sic ane stour sa weill be prufit; Alex. ii 10266.
Quhen thou has lang provit that persone and fyndis him ever traist; Hay II 149/14.
Gif thou will prove thy baille … gyf he be lele and trewe; Ib. 153/15.
And lipin nocht in a new-cumyne gest, Lat vthire hyme pruf ore thow hyme traist; Consail Vys Man 358.
The wertu of the persoune may be provit gif [etc.]; Irland Mir. I 52/25.
Pruf; Ib. 59/36.
Thir fercie freikis that so vther provit; Stewart 57758.
Lang tyme ȝe haif me pruffit, And evir fund me trew; Scott xxii 33.
That sic trubles … ar the visitations of God to pruif you to try you gif ye luif him; 1559–60 A. Bothwell in M. Napier Mem. J. Napier 66.
Gude schirs I wil ȝow prufe And gif ȝe be sic men for my behufe [etc.]; Rolland Seven S. 5124.
Bot pacientlie prays God that dois ȝow prowe [: mowe, abowe, lowe]; Maitl. F. clxx 20.
God prwifis the hartis or myndis of men & women as the golde smyth prwifis silwer & golde in the furneis; Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. fol. 17a.
Excepe in tyme he be weill prwiffit Or thingis owtfall; Ib. fol. 29b.
Then pruif me, and luif me, As deidis sall deserve; Montg. P. i 125.
absol. The sureast way that I can find Is first to prufe and syne to trust; Maitl. F. lxxxix 26.

b. To subject (a person) to pressure, so as to influence his actions. Thai hire thretty dais suld prufe, Quhile be aw & quhile be lufe, To change hir purpos & wil; Leg. S. xlii 43.

2. To test, try out (a thing) for quality, efficiency, suitability and the like. = Prev(e v.1 2. Prowe; Leg. S. xxv 531 (see Prev(e v.1 6 b).
Yha bot he bent and pruf [Maitl. pruve] thaim [harp-strings] with his wraist; Regim. Princ. 10 (Marchm.).
To ane man that provit the watir of Don befor the king, ix s.; 1505 Treas. Acc. III 165.

3. To try out (something) in experience; to experience. = Prev(e v.1 3. Also absol. Also passing into: To hazard, venture, set at risk. Thou has provit and experimentit mony mervalous … thingis; Hay II 103/29.
He vald all thing haue provit, sett or faleȝe, And in the somer-castell pas he wald To pruffe his fortoun; Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 4207, 4209.
Thow langit ay to prufe The strenth of luvis lair; Scott xx 17.
Pruve; Ib. xxxi 2.
This thow sall prowe, and yit not knaw how thow man cwir thy wound; Fowler I 30/90.
absol. Lo! quhat it is to lufe, Lerne ȝe, that list to prufe, Be me, I say [etc.]; Scott xxxii 2.

b. To undergo, enjoy or suffer. = Prev(e v.1 3 b. Hys fureous payne was felloune for to pruff [: luff]; Wall. ii 222.
Ib. v 230.
Wald scho bethink … quhat panis I prufe; Bann. MS 225b/17.
Ib. 218a/9.
Fowler I 53/160, 347/3.
Montg. Misc. P. xii 9.

c. Const. interrog. clause: To ascertain or discover by experiment, to put to the test, try, see. Pruf [E. Prowe] we gif it will now do swa; Barb. vii 22 (C).
Sir Patrick … deferryt [the sentence] … to prowe gif the forsayde personaris walde seke hym othir with tretys grace or lauch; 1385 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS 410/2.
With the maydins ȝow gammyn and prufe Gif thare be ony that ȝe wald lufe; Alex. ii 1961.
Prove; Wynt. vi 2180.
Quhill I haue provit anyis quho it wilbe That I haue blude of thame or thai of me; Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 3448.
Lat pruve gif it be wyid annewch; Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 225.

d. To confirm or verify by experience. Also absol. Bot … fortone anerly … Wyrkis al … , As be my-self wele prowit haf I; Leg. S. xxi 341.
Serve hir, and sche thy constancie sall pruif; Montg. Suppl. xxvi 3.
absol. And Alexander, persauand in him love, Put in his arm [sc. into Bucephalus' cage] ȝit forthir for to proue; Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 636.

4. To try out, sample, taste. = Prev(e v.1 4. Learne how to … proue The heavinly joyes, and suggared sweits of loue; Mure Early Misc. P. i 31.

5. a. intr. const. of: ? To test, ? by sampling, for ? quality or ? quantity (cf. Prev(e v.1 5 and b below); ? to approve, sanction (cf. Preve v.2). Copyn is adjudgit to mak the meal as sufficient gude and as gude as the exemple that Henry provit of first; 1521–3 Old Dundee II 310.

b. To estimate the yield of (a crop), ? by casting proof (Pruf(e n. 5). To pruf the crop and proffit of the sawing of the landis … of xx bollis of aitis estymet to thre chalder and xij bollis of aitis; 1478 Acta Aud. 67/2.

II. 6. To attempt, endeavour to accomplish, try to do (something). = Prev(e v.1 6. And thu wald the contrare profe, Thu sal na mycht haf to remofe; Leg. S. xviii 1089.
& tho he profit this fele cyse, Ȝet entre he ne mycht onywise; Ib. xxxvi 751.
And I wyll … Prowe [v.rr. Pruff, Pruf] sum othir juperdyis; Wynt. iv 762.
That perell pertlie sall I prufe With thi ȝe gif me leif to luf; Seven S. 1435.

III. 7. To perform (an action etc.). = Prev(e v.1 7. And ladyis sere scho [Messalina] tretyd ay In cumpany to pruve [C. preyff, W. pruf] that play; Wynt. v 542.
To pleis hir sie thy pairt thow pruif With wit and all devoir; Philotus xcviii.
We are not planets, but fixed starres, We prove not wandering from the right; Maidment Balfour Ballads 30.

8. To demonstrate or display in action (an ability or quality). = Prev(e v.1 8. Quha-sa-euer had seyne him then Prowe sa worthely wasselage; Barb. iii 57.
That he suld dey war gret pite Bot quhar worschip mycht prowyt [C. prufit] be; Ib. v 174 (E).
Bot he Prowyt [C. Provit, H. Preeued] on the sow sic sutelte; Ib. xvii 666.
Ib. v 363.
& hyme sic questione can mowe In scornyng, his wit to prowe; Leg. S. xxi 158.
& thare thu thi mastre prowe; Ib. xxxii 199.
And for the gentill Kingis lufe, That oft was wont for vs [to] prufe Lufe, largenes and tendernes; Alex. i 394.
Ib. ii 7326.
Troy-bk. ii 2734.
Or in tyll were thaire pythys prowe [v.rr. pruff, prufe]; Wynt. ii 18.
Artymodor … made rycht stout and hard assay, And wyrschype prowyde [C., W. pruffit], and manhade; Ib. iv 927.
Pruwyt [C., W. pruffit]; Ib. ii 375.
Pruwyde; Ib. 1318.
Pruwe; Ib. v 1456.
Ib. ii 1565, etc.
Prouit; Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 1625.
Prowyt; Wall. x 288.
So thair I saw what service he and servill death dois prowe; Fowler I 64/179.

9. To display or reveal oneself (as), to be shown or turn out to be (as specified in the compl.); also, to make of oneself (what the compl. specifies). a. Of persons. = Prev(e v.1 9. b. Of things. = Prev(e v.1 10. a. intr. In all apport scho prowyt [W. pruffit, C. prewit] man, Suppos in fourme scho wes woman; Wynt. ii 77.
A suspect traytoure, Set swa he wes nowcht prowyd in dede, Yhit swilk he provyd, or thine he yhed; Ib. vii 483.
Bot, I traist, he sall prufe the fuill; Lynd. Meldrum 334.
[To] do weill that day with him and prowe ane wailȝeant man; Pitsc. I 98 n.
Fowler II 97/11.
Some [children] must mis-thriue and proue naght; Craig iii 5.
I hope … ȝiour majestie shall find him prowe nather onwoorthie nor [etc.]; 1615 Denmylne MSS in
Highland P. III 192.
Gratious Prince! … Proue pitifull and spair; Garden Elphinstoun 1224.
And some the poet proues for hoip of hyre; Mure Sonn. viii 4.
It was lik she wold prove a creple all her dayes; 1659 Hay Diary 53.
They were found together intending to goe away and proue fugitiue; 1672 Cullen Kirk S. 15 Jan.
And do not still sae arse-ward preuve; G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 30.
reflex. A couple of knights … wrought han-span And preuv'd themsel's two clifty men; G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 70.
b. Fore bewte lestis bot a quhill, And ȝet oft-tyme it prowys ill; Ratis R. 666.
Thair slaw resolutiones … is lyk yneugh … to prove incomodious to thame selvis; 1571 Bann. Trans. 295.
That this tempest wil not continew, and that it wil pruif but a gowk storm; 1609 Lett. Eccl. Affairs 185.
Proove; 1618 Laing MSS I 150.
It riseth upon the ruines of the kirk, and proues like the melt in the bodie, as [etc.]; Scot Course of Conformity 14.
[This] wold prove ane wndealable mark of levietie and wnconstancie wpone them; 1669 Conv. Burghs III 609.

c. With adv. complement. = Prev(e v.1 9 b. Of the Douze pers that ay Thame prouit weill at hard assay; Alex. i 506.
The auchtane day fechtand richt fast He provit sa, quhill at the last Thai torned thar bakis; Troy-bk. ii 2230.
For othirwayis he wndyrstude Than eftyrwarde the gamyn yhede, Or werde off were, prowyd in dede; Wynt. iv 326.
He prowyd [v.rr. proffit, pruffit] welle off his manhede; Ib. v 567.
Stude I in blis off luffe, Quhar dedis war I suld the bettir pruff; Wall. v 636.
‘Wallace,’ scho said, ‘Yhe war clepyt my luff Mor baundounly I maid me for to pruff Traistand tharfor your rancour for to slak’; Ib. viii 1402.
Prufit; Seven S. 430.
Ib. 2310.
To be judge quha provit knightliest; Clar. iv 983.
Sa he gydit in all thing and weill prufit; Rolland Seven S. 8624.
The estate was but small, yet, by … honest mannagerie, it proved better than was expected; 1657 Misc. Spald. C. II 395.

10. intr. or absol. To display valour or show oneself valiant. Of lusty men … Disyrus in to armys for to pruf; Lanc. 2547.

IV. 11. To establish the validity, truth or accuracy of, to substantiate, make good, verify. = Prev(e v.1 11 a, b, c and f. pres. (a) The Jow … gert cal hyme in iugment, To prowe his lane that he lent; Leg. S. xxvi 810.
Gif I may nocht prove this laufully, I sall prove it with my body; Hay I 73/24.
Ib. 75/4, etc.
Tharfor richt necessar … is to prove and found it in haly writ; Irland Mir. II 50/35.
Be the quhilk St. Paul prouis [MS pruivis] His werray resurrectioun; Winȝet I 88/15.
Pitsc. II 71/19.
His miracles to prouue his godhaid; Hamilton Facile Tr. 97.
Quhilk the said Charles could na vayis proue nor verifie; 1624 St. A. Baxter Bks. 86.
For taking to prove ane untruth befor the face of the Session; 1657 Boharm Kirk S. 1 March.
For striking … of him, quhilk he took to prow be witnes; 1665 Forbes Baron Ct. 262.
(b) A man may profe sesing of lande boucht wyth in the burche; Acts I 356/2.
1474 Acta Aud. 34/2.
(c) Proif; Lamb Resonyng 89/24.
To proif payment thairof; 1597 Acts Sederunt ii 28.
(d) Sum men mycht argew atte last And pruf with resone his entent; Ratis R. 1582.
[To] content the said pure men … as thai may lauchfully pruf it; 1456 Wemyss Chart. 79.
1459 Peebles B. Rec. I 134.
To pruf and schew his intra in the said landis; 1479 Acta Aud. 86/2.
Prufe; 1482–3 Ib. in
Acta Conc. II cxvii.
To pruf the verite of his deid he [etc.]; Irland Mir. II 43/35.
Pruf; 1559–60 Soc. Ant. XI 522.
(e) And als the said Johnne Irwing pruducit to pruiff the auld mairchis … and to affirme his evidentis; 1519 Rec. Earld. Orkney 93.
Quhy ȝour buik specifeis alanerlie bot ane historiciane … for to pruif the first homage … and for to pruif all the vthir homagis; Lamb Resonyng 57/2, 3.
To try and pruiffe befoir us … the great wrangus [etc.]; 1587–8 Aberd. Council Lett. I 27.
1611 Inverness Rec. II 80.
p.t. Than John Naper seriand provit his tachment; 1456 Peebles B. Rec. I 114.
Ȝe haif said that quhilk ȝe are not hable to preif, for I proved my doctryne thair be gude argumentis; 1559 Misc. Wodrow Soc. 275.
p.p. (a) & contynens als wele he lufyt, As [be] syndry ma be prowit [: lufyt]; Leg. S. xxiv 28.
Than folyly we sulde oucht say That may noucht in ws consaywyde be Na prowyde be auctoryte; Wynt. i 66.
And that profe aw to be prowyt of his pouerte be iiij lell men; Acts I 357/2.
Provyt; Ib. 42/2.
1445 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 398.
Gif a lord has a bonde man that is accusit of thift the quhilk may nocht be provit be opyn pruf; Hay I 260/29.
(b) As was pruvit before the said lordis; 1478 Acta Aud. 59/1.
(c) As wes proffit be a testimoniale of the erle of Ergylis; 1476 Acta Aud. 57/1.
1483 Ib. *118/2.
Quhilk … is presentlie profyt this day; 1597 Paisley B. Rec. 193.
(d) And it aw to be prufyt wyth wytnes; Burgh Laws c. 44 (B).
Except as it was manifest thar prufit be actentik letteris testimoniale; 1431 Liber Melros 523.
That his caus can nocht be prufit in na way bot be his persoun; Hay I 286/17.
Pruffit; 1478 Acta Aud. 59/1.
And as to the sevin ky and oxin takin fra the sade Wilyeam and prufit with Patrik Andersone, his serjand; 1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 386.

b. To establish as to amount. = Prev(e v.1 11 e. To prufe the avale and quantite of the said Mergretis barnis part of gudis clamyt; 1482–3 Acta Aud. in
Acta Conc. II cx.
As alsua pruifeis led to pruife the quantite of the sawing; 1605 Melrose Reg. Rec. I 1.
Nor can the private damnage be repaired, except his losse be liquidly proved; Mackenzie Laws & C. i xxxiv §iii (1699) 161.

c. intr. To prove for, to establish the validity of, to validate. That the rollis … is sufficient to pruff for the possessioun of the kirk of Brechine to the secund teynd; 1483 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 207.

12. tr. To establish, demonstrate (that something is so, etc.). = Prev(e v.1 12. (1) He bad his wyf … That scho suld profe, as the law wes, He to ded wes put saklas; Leg. S. xxxi 437.
Thinkand to prowe be resone That thai suld haf successione; Ib. xxxvi 981.
Ib. xxxi 456.
The fadyr … he couth welle prove [v.rr. pruff, pruf] Dysspoyleyhyt the sone; Wynt. v 1339.
To prufe this day … that he had assithit fullely Lankyn Wist; 1433 Aberd. B. Rec. I 389.
The quhilkis the prophet prouvet clerely that oure salvatour [etc.]; Hay I 20/13.
Provis; Ib. 117/27, etc.
Gif the said John pruffis nocht … that he has pait; 1456 Perth Guildry 18.
Pruf; 1457 Peebles B. Rec. I 122.
To profe that … Joffray Fleming distruyt hir corne … and quhat skathe scho has sustenit therthrou; 1471 Acta Aud. 16/2.
Pruf; 1478 Ib. 59/2, etc.
Prufe; 1480 Acta Conc. I 57/2.
He may prufe befor the schereff … that thai [lands] are of vaile; 1485 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 318.
It was sufficiently pruit befor the said assis, and als be his avne gravnt, that the said William [etc.]; 1503 Aberd. B. Rec. I 431.
The said Johnne Irwyne offerit to proof that he susteinet great wrang of [etc.]; 1519 Rec. Earld. Orkney 92.
Gif I do prufe That I ȝow luf; Scott xii 33.
I prove, that abydis not the tryall of Goddis word, which Goddis word condempnes; Knox I 199.
Quhair shee aleigit to prow that the said John Henderson did strick … hir; 1673 Forbes Baron Ct. 294.
(2) And thay said y behoweit to prowe it to be mayne; 1602 Dundee Shipping P. 75.
Garden Elphinstoun 943.
In calling him mansuorne and that he wald prove him to be sua; 1629 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 162.
If I shall prow … thos aspertions to be meir ontreuths; 1665 Laing MSS I 345.
1696 Corshill Baron Ct. 191.
(3) Thai that provyd [C. pruffit] war till hym fals; Wynt. vii 2871.
Alsmekele as the efter fallis of the teis of the schip … is prufit of avale; 1488 Acta Aud. 113/2.
He … that beis apprehendit or provit brekand this statute; 1517 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 166.
He than … offerit to prufe thame foule of the samin bill; 1581 Reg. Privy C. III 421.
That he suld prwiff him mensworne; 1589–90 St. A. B. Ct. 30 Jan.
Pruf; 1616 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 288.
Befor ane indifferent judge a [sic] shall mor easilie prow Cambros a canibus et brutis … then thoue sall persuade me that [etc.]; Read Buch. 2.

b. Of a witness: To establish by his testimony. c. Of some fact or circumstance: To attest, testify, demonstrate, confirm (that something is the case, etc.). b. Thir witnes prowand it [sc. a tenement] waist; 1488 Lanark B. Rec. 5.
Profand; 1501 Ib. 12.
And producit Jhone Mertyne [etc.] … prowit his aitht gud and leill; 1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 53.
The forsaid witnes provs … that they hard … Michall Myrreman; 1534 Rec. Earld. Orkney 218.
c. Albert … left sindry experimentis That provis weil sutht his ententis; Ratis R. 1709.
Merwalis … provand that he was werray God; Irland Mir. I 159/3.
Quhose port … Pruiffis hir, but peir or peregall, Of maidis the maikles margareit; Montg. Misc. P. l 15.
The publications … wil easelie prooue this written be me anent the … contents of the ligs … to be true; 1616 J. Maitland Misc. Hist. Soc. II 196.

13. a. To establish (an accusation, the validity of a document, etc.) apon or against another. b. absol. Of a testimony or a piece of evidence: To serve to establish a case (against one); to carry conviction, to hold; also const. adv. a. A. that here standis sal ger it be provit apon thé … as the law of Scotland wyl; Bute MS fol. 141.
Being sumoned witnesses to proove the clerks bill against Wm. Cuninghame; 1643 Kinghorn Kirk S. 48.
b. (1) It was alleged that the acquittance could not prove against my lord Forbes; 1611 Morison Dict. Decis. 12603 (28 Nov.).
That the wreit produced aganist him or sum of theme can nocht prove aganist him because they ar fals [etc.]; Bisset I 213/29.
(2) Found that the testimoniall of a judge does not prove legittime; Hope Major Pract. II 253.
Wittnesses prove not sufficientlie 1. if they be discrepant from themselfes [etc.]; Ib. 265.

c. tr. ? To establish a case against (another). It is to wit that nane of the kinrik of Ingland may proue ony [L. potest probare aliquem] of the kinrik of Scotland by witnes bot al only be the body of man; Acts I 86*/2.

14. a. In rel. clause introduced by as, or with ellipsis of the obj., in previous senses. As writ can pruf [: lufe, abufe, muf, rufe (= rest), reprufe (= reproof n.)]; Henr. Annunc. (O.U.P.) 3.
The first cherite makis the person sone of God be … adopcioun as mony auctoriteis of haly writ provis; Irland Asl. MS 52/28.
Also kirkmen bene mair kinde to thair lufis, Than vtheris ar, als weill the prettick prufis; Rolland Seven S. 4148.
If any think that I speak more liberally than I am able to prove; Knox Ressoning in Knox VI 171.
As leirnitlie prouis Hierome vpoun the first to Titus; Fowler II 45/12.
‘Sirs, Dreid and Danger,’ then quod Wit, ‘Ȝe did ȝour sells to me submit; Experience can proife'; Montg. Ch. & Slae 1235 (W2).

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Prove v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/prove>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse DOST:

Browse Up
Browse Down