Printable Version
Pronunciation: ri-pruv Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To rebuke, reprimand, or admonish gently, usually with kind intent.

Notes: Here is a word containing another seemingly unrelated word, prove, hidden within it in plain sight. ("To prove again" is usually spelled re-prove.) We have two nouns for this verb, reproval and reprovement. We also have two adjectives, an active one, reproving, and a passive one: reprovable.

In Play: Reproval is mild admonishment: "Oscar put up a sign in his yard that reproved his gossipy neighborhood with, 'We don't like your house either!'" Teens! Want to impress your parents? Try, "Stop criticizing me! You reprove my every action!"

Word History: Today's Good Word was clearly borrowed from Old French reprover "accuse, blame". It comprises re- "back, opposite, reversal" + probare "to judge worthy, credible, good". By itself, this verb went on to become French prouver "prove, test", which English borrowed as prove but retaining the French pronunciation. The derived word came from PIE pro-bheu- "being before, in front of", from pro-, a variant of per- "forward, front" + bheu-/bhou "to be, exist, grow", which we see in Latin futurus "will be" and English be. Middle Dutch made beodel "property, riches" out of it, which English borrowed as boodle "(dirty) money" which, without the initial B, came to be oodles.

Dr. Goodword,

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