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Proof, subst. 1) trial, experiment, test: “mine appetite I never more will grind on newer p.” Sonn. 110, 11. “if you, in your own p., have vanquished the resistance of her youth,” Ado IV, 1, 46. “you have seen cruel p. of this man's strength,” As I, 2, 184. “a terrible oath . . . gives manhood more approbation than ever p. itself could have earned him,” Tw. III, 4, 199. “as you are like to find him in the p. of his valour,” Tw. III, 4, 199 “we leave that to the p.” H4A II, 2, 72. “gentle exercise and p. of arms,” V, 2, 55. “only this p. I'll of thy valour make,” H6A I, 2, 94. “in the reproof of chance lies the true p. of men,” Troil. I, 3, 34. “Troilus will stand to the p.” I, 2, 142. “set me on the p.” Tim. II, 2, 166 (let me be tried, examined). “I have made strong p. of my constancy,” Caes. II, 1, 299. “that might hold, if this should blast in p.” Hml. IV, 7, 155. “I'll put it in p.” Lr. IV, 6, 189. “of whom his eyes had seen the p.” Oth. I, 1, 28. I will make p. of thine (coat) V, 1, 26. “let p. speak,” Cymb. III, 1, 77.
2) a state of having been tried and having stood the test: “all my pains is sorted to no p.” Shr. IV, 3, 43 (== proves to be to no purpose). “there's never none of these demure boys come to any p.” H4B IV, 3, 98 (== has proved to be of any worth). “I have chastised the amorous Trojan and am her knight by p.” Troil. V, 5, 5. “when false opinion . . . in thy just p. repeals and reconciles thee,” Lr. III, 6, 120 (== in thy proving to be just). cf. Sonn. 110, 11. Hml. III, 1, 115. Oth. I, 1, 28. Particularly applied to defensive arms tried and found impenetrable: “his brawny sides . . . are better p. than thy spear's point can enter,” Ven. 626. “be thou armed for some unhappy words. Ay, to the p.” Shr. II, 141. “add p. unto mine armour with thy prayers,” R2 I, 3, 73. “his coat is of p.” H6B IV, 2, 65 (quibbling). “ten thousand soldiers armed in p.” R3 V, 3, 219. “in strong p. of chastity well armed,” Rom. I, 1, 216. “put armour on thine ears . . . whose p. nor yells of mothers . . . nor sight of priests . . . shall pierce,” Tim. IV, 3, 124. “lapped in p.” Mcb. I, 2, 54. “Mars's armour forged for p. eterne,” Hml. II, 2, 512. “leap thou through p. of harness to my heart,” Ant. IV, 8, 15. “whose naked breast stepped before targets of p.” Cymb. V, 5, 5.
3) experience; a) the state of experiencing, of trying and seeing something: “a bliss in p., and proved, a very woe,” Sonn. 129, 11. “I do pronounce him in that very shape he shall appear in p.” H8 I, 1, 197. “p. is called impossibility,” Troil. V, 5, 29. “that love, so gentle in his view, should be so tyrannous and rough in p.” Rom. I, 1, 176. b) truth or knowledge gathered by experience: we must curb it (our blood) “upon others' p.” Compl. 163. “this is an accident of hourly p.” Ado II, 1, 188. “we have ten --s to one that blood hath the victory,” II, 3, 171. “I urge this childhood p.” Merch. I, 1, 144. “'tis a vulgar p. that very oft we pity enemies,” Tw. III, 1, 135. “as by p. we see the waters swell before a storm,” R3 II, 3, 43. “'tis a common p. that lowliness is young ambition's ladder,” Caes. II, 1, 21. “what my love is, p. hath made you know,” Hml. III, 2, 179. I see in passages of p., time qualifies the spark and fire of it (love) IV, 7, 113. “the country gives me p. and precedent of Bedlam beggars,” Lr. II, 3, 13. “who knows by history, report, or his own p.” Cymb. I, 6, 70. “out of your p. you speak,” III, 3, 27.
4) a convincing token or argument: Compl. 153. Sonn. 117, 10. Gent. I, 1, 97. Wiv. IV, 2, 106. V, 5, 126. Meas. III, 2, 31. IV, 2, 45. IV, 2, 45 Ado II, 2, 27. V, 1, 105. All's V, 3, 121. All's V, 3, 121 Tw. I, 5, 67 “(make).” Tw. I, 5, 67 Wint. III, 2, 113. V, 1, 180. V, 2, 36. R2 IV, 70. H4A I, 2, 37. H6A III, 3, 68. V, 1, 46. V, 3, 8. H8 I, 1, 154. II, 1, 16. Troil. V, 2, 113 (a p. of strength == a strong proof). Caes. V, 1, 49. Oth. I, 3, 106. III, 3, 191. III, 3, 191 III, 3, 191 III, 3, 191 III, 3, 191 III, 3, 191 III, 3, 191 Cymb. III, 4, 24. V, 5, 200.
Used nonsensically by Mrs Quickly: H4B II, 4, 127.
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