c. 1200, prēven, pruven, proven "to try by experience or by a test or standard; evaluate; demonstrate in practice," from Old French prover, pruver "show; convince; put to the test" (11c., Modern French prouver), from Latin probare "to make good; esteem, represent as good; make credible, show, demonstrate; test, inspect; judge by trial" (source also of Spanish probar, Italian probare, and English probe), from probus "worthy, good, upright, virtuous."
This is from PIE *pro-bhwo- "being in front," from *pro-, extended form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of," + root *bhu- "to be," source also of Latin fui "I have been," futurus "about to be;" Old English beon "to be;" see be.
From early 13c. as "render certain, put out of doubt," also "establish the validity or authenticity of a will, etc." By c. 1300 as "test and find worthy, virtuous, false, etc.," also "find out, discover, ascertain; prove by argument." By mid-14c. as "check the accuracy of." The meaning "be found to be (a hero, coward, etc.) by experience or trial" is by late 14c.
The word had many more senses and broader application in Middle English than Modern English: "to experience; to strive, endeavor; act, accomplish; thrive, succeed." Also in Middle English in a now-obsolete sense of "approve, sanction, praise" (c. 1300; compare approve). Related: Proved; proven; proving. Proving ground "place used for firing cannons for making ballistics tests and testing powder" is by 1837.
"individual chosen because of the presence of some trait to be studied," 1929, from Latin probandus, gerundive of probare "to make good, esteem good; make credible, show, prove, demonstrate" (see prove).
"tried and proved," 1650s, adjective from alternative (strong) past participle, originally in Scottish legal use, of prove (v.). In this sense, Middle English had preved ("proved"), c. 1300.
in law, "official proving of a will," mid-15c., from Medieval Latin legalese use of Latin probatum "a thing proved," neuter of probatus "tried, tested, proved," past participle of probare "to try, test, prove" (see prove).
"tried virtue or integrity, strict honesty," early 15c., probite, from Old French probité, from Latin probitatem (nominative probitas) "uprightness, honesty," from probus "worthy, good" (see prove).
late 14c., "approvable, worthy of praise or admiration" (a sense now obsolete); c. 1400, "that can be proved, capable of being demonstrated," from Old French provable, from prover "show; convince; put to the test" (see prove (v.)). Related: Provably; provability; provableness.
"serving to test or prove; pertaining to proof or demonstration," mid-15c., probatiffe, from Old French probatif and directly from Latin probativus "belonging to proof," from probat-, past-participle stem of probare "show, prove, demonstrate" (see prove). Originally in terme probatiffe "a period of time assigned for the proving of an allegation."
"prove to be false or erroneous," late 14c., from Old French desprover "refute, contradict," from des- (see dis-) + prover "show; convince; put to the test" (see prove). Related: Disproved; disproving; disprovable. Middle English also had dispreven, from Old French desprover, with substitution of prefix.