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The proof is in the pudding
Posted: 28 January 2018 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]
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How old is the proof is in the pudding relative to the proof of the pudding is in the eating?

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Posted: 28 January 2018 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The OED has the proof of a pudding is in the eating from 1605.

I found a Google Books cite of the proof is in the pudding from 1965. That can probably be antedated, but it appears to be a late twentieth century variation.

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Posted: 28 January 2018 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Your Dictionary says both versions go back further than that:

http://www.yourdictionary.com/the-proof-is-in-the-pudding#wiktionary?direct_search_result=yes

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Posted: 28 January 2018 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A rather tortuous chain that concludes with no actual citations. Yourdictionary.com cites Wiktionary, which cites Michael Quinion, who claims it dates to the 1920s, but doesn’t provide any evidence. (Quinion is an excellent source, so I don’t doubt he has the cites; he just doesn’t list them on his website.)

But it prompted me to search Proquest Historical Newspapers where I found this from 1911:

Stephenson, T. E. “Among the Amateur Sportsmen of Southern California, Woman Trains Track Teams.” Los Angeles Times, 30 April 1911, p. VII10:

The proof is in the pudding. Third-street school beat every grammar school football team in Orange county last fall. It has a track team that would do credit to many a small college.

[ Edited: 28 January 2018 12:23 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 28 January 2018 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Great antedate!

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Posted: 29 January 2018 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But putting it in the mouth of a character in 1904 is still an anachronism.  Or is that within the spoken to written fuzzy zone?  The character was, IIRC, Constable Crabtree in Murdoch Mysteries.

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Posted: 29 January 2018 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And there is a third way it is said: “the proof of the pudding” is said to have existed before “the proof is in the pudding” according to this site: http://www.npr.org/2012/08/24/159975466/corrections-and-comments-to-stories.

I have heard the other two, but not this one.

[ Edited: 29 January 2018 04:43 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 29 January 2018 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There were no citings of “The proof of the pudding” on Proquest Historical Newspapers, so I’m not the only one who hasn’t heard it. Love that site, Dave, and have it saved.

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Posted: 29 January 2018 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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But putting it in the mouth of a character in 1904 is still an anachronism.

Oh, come now.  If it was being used as an unremarkable statement in a 1911 newspaper (no “as the kids say now” or whatever), I guarantee you it was being used in speech in 1904, and probably before the turn of the century.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 02:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Zimmer is right about pudding and we still say and eat the delicacies black pudding (blood sausage) and steak and kidney pudding (encased in suet) in Britain.

I think we’ve discussed the old meaning of proof/prove before. It meant try out or test as in eating the pudding to see if it is any good as Zimmer also points out. We can also see this sense in Marlowe’s Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove ie try out or test the enjoyment of. He may also have meant prove they are as good as people say if that meaning was also in use in Elizabethan times.

Proving ground means testing ground.

The exception that proves the rule means tests the rule. Misuse of this one particularly annoys me because it is nonsense and contrary to the scientific method and our shared experience of how the world works. If there is an exception to a rule or theory then they are in serious trouble and the matter needs to be resolved through observation or experimentation one way or the other. No linguist or philosopher would say that all knowledge comes from experience except for our capacity to acquire language, therefore all knowledge comes from experience.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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For exceptions proving rules see this.

The phrase comes from the law, and the proves does not originally mean “test” here, it means “confirm/demonstrate the existence of.” The existence of an exception shows that a more general rule or law exists. For instance, if there is a sign that says no parking on Sundays, then that means there is a general, unstated rule that permits parking on other days.

It was expressed in Latin as early as 1617: exceptio figit regulam in non exceptis (the exception establishes the rule in non-excepted cases).

Of course, that’s not what most people mean when they use it today. It’s become an idiom that makes no literal sense, like head over heels or lock and load.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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We also still proof gun barrels - that is, test whether they will stand up to normal use without bursting.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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We also proof (American*) or prove (British*) dough when it’s set aside to rise, and I’m curious about the origin of this sense. I suppose risen dough proves that the yeast it contains is still alive, whereas dough that fails to rise proves the opposite, but I have no idea if that’s related at all.

* I think this distinction is valid, but I’m making an assumption. I’ve become interested in bread-baking in the past few years and own several books on the subject by American authors, who always refer to proofing the dough. The hosts of The Great British Baking Show, however, talk about proving it. Not a very large statistical sample, I know.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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And of course there is the proof of distilled spirits.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’ve only ever heard of proving dough here in the UK. Your post is the first I ever heard mention of proofing it, which strikes my eye and ear as very strange, although I note that the OED’s earliest citations for proof in this sense are from Britain, so it must once have been commonplace. Interestingly, neither proof nor prove in the yeast bakery sense has citations older than the mid-19th century.

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Posted: 16 February 2018 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 16 February 2018 10:43 AM

Interestingly, neither proof nor prove in the yeast bakery sense has citations older than the mid-19th century.

Really? That is interesting. I would’ve thought, based admittedly on nothing but the fact that people have been baking with yeast for millennia, that it was far older. I guess it was simply called something else, but that just makes me more curious about where this sense of the word originates.

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