The Proof is in the Pudding Meaning
Definition: You must try something to know its true quality.
The original, longer phrase is the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Origin of the Proof is in the Pudding
The original form of this phrase is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The phrase first appeared in William Camden’s 1605 Remains Concerning Britain.
Over the years, this phrase has been used on both sides of the Atlantic and has been particularly common in England. It is a comment on the quality control of pudding, which originally was a kind of sausage, then later any food inside a crust. In order to know if the pudding is “up to snuff,” someone needs to try it.
People began shortening the expression in the 1920s, and it became more popular by the mid-1900s.
Examples of the Proof is in the Pudding
In the example below, a husband is telling his wife about a problem in their house.
Kip: The toilet is broken again! I’m going to go call the plumber.
Caroline: Don’t worry! I fixed it while you were at work.
Kip: Really? Are you sure? It seemed like it was totally unfixable for someone who isn’t a professional.
Caroline: Yeah, of course I’m sure. It’s working great now!
Kip: It’s not that I don’t believe you. It just seems doubtful that it is possible.
Caroline: Well, the proof is in the pudding. Go try to flush it. You’ll see.
Kip: Good idea.
The next example involves two friends who are studying for an exam.
Brian: I’m totally prepared for this exam! I know everything that there is to know! Regardless of what questions the professor asks, I’ll be able to answer them.
Raj: Really? That’s a bold claim. Are you certain of that?
Brian: I promise you that I am 100 percent ready. If you don’t believe me, the proof is in the pudding! Ask me any question. Any question at all.
Raj: Okay. I’m going to take a practice question from the back of the book. Take a look at this. I’ve been trying to solve it for hours. What’s the answer to this one?
Brian: No problem. Look. This is how you solve it. See? The answer is 42!
Raj: Wow! You really are prepared!
This excerpt is a quote from a movie.
- “Our business is up at brick-and-mortar 20 percent and online 45 percent from last year. It’s really hard, but at the same time, the proof is in the pudding and we’ve been able to push the numbers and, for us, it’s just fine-tuning the stores and online so that it’s accurate. It’s not for everybody.” –LA Times
This is an excerpt about a film producer who is saying that the proof that a film was bad is in the final result.
- Harvey Weinstein said he was trying to salvage flawed films. “Sometimes when there are problems — a movie is too long, or it has the wrong music — most of the time it’s worked out.” But when it hasn’t, “unfortunately you get tagged with names. The proof is in the pudding. And the proof is in the output. As I get older, I’m not up for these fights anymore …. I blame myself — I could’ve been a better manager and hope to be in the future. –LA Times
The phrase the proof is in the pudding means that the best way to know if something is true or not is to experience it firsthand.