'The Proof Is in the Pudding': Definition, Meaning, Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 8, 2024

Have you ever heard someone say, 'The proof is in the pudding? It's a bit of an odd saying, so you might have wondered what it meant. If you've been wondering, then look no further. In this article, you'll learn what it means, where it comes from and how to use it in a sentence.

If you want the short version, here it is:

  • When you say, 'The proof is in the pudding,' it means all you have to do is look at the evidence to know whether or not something is true.

What Does 'The Proof Is in the Pudding' Mean?

'The proof is in the pudding' is an idiom that is a perfect example of how idioms can't be interpreted literally; you just have to know what they mean. That's right, this saying has nothing to do with puddings. At least, not anymore. It means the true value or quality of something can only be determined by experiencing or testing it. In other words, you need to try something to know if it's good or effective.  

Say, for example, that your friend is considering seeing a hypnotherapist to help her quit smoking, but she is worried it's a scam.

You might say to her:

But you've seen the reviews; hundreds of people swear by this method and say that it helped them quit smoking. The proof is in the pudding!

Because the idiom contains a verb ('is'), you might see it in other forms sometimes, such as:

But these forms are much rarer to see; you won't come across them all that often. Still, it's possible, so I wanted to mention them here.

Where Does 'The Proof Is in the Pudding' Come From?

The correct idiom is actually "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" (often shortened to "the proof is in the pudding" for brevity). The phrase dates back to at least the 17th century and is often mistakenly attributed to Miguel de Cervantes, but it's not actually from his works. The precise origin of this idiom is not definitively known, and it appears to have evolved over time.

So how did it start? And why did they use the word 'pudding' to talk about proof?

First, it's worth noting that the pudding in question here isn't the sweet, gooey kind that you consume after a meal. No, back then, pudding was a meat and blood preparation stuffed into skin or a bag to look like a sausage. It was difficult to know if it was ready until you tasted it, so people started saying, 'The proof of the pudding is in the eating' as a way to say that you needed to taste it to know whether or not it was ready.

This later evolved into the version we use today.

Fun fact! Pudding is still a popular food in the UK, especially when consumed with Christmas dinner.

Examples in Sentences

Now that we've covered the meaning of this idiom and its origins, here are some example sentences that use it.

Don't just read the reviews; try the product yourself because the proof is in the pudding.

She claimed her new teaching method was effective, but the proof is in the pudding when we see the students' test scores.

We can discuss theories all day, but the proof is in the pudding when we implement these changes and measure the results.

His resume looks impressive, but the proof is in the pudding when we assess his actual job performance.

The chef insisted that his secret ingredient made the dish special, and he was right; the proof is in the pudding, and it's delicious.

They promised their software was user-friendly, but the proof is in the pudding – let's see how easy it is to navigate.

The marketing campaign sounded amazing on paper, but the proof is in the pudding when we see if it boosts our sales.

You can talk about your fitness program all you want, but the proof is in the pudding when we look at your physical results.

He claimed to be an expert in budget management, but the proof is in the pudding when we examine the organization's financial reports.

The new employee had an impressive academic background, but the proof will be in the pudding when they start working on real projects.

Other Ways to Say 'The Proof Is in the Pudding'

There are plenty of other ways to say you just have to look at the evidence to know if something is true. They're great to use if you're looking for alternative phrases.

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article about this popular idiom. To summarize, when someone says the proof is in the pudding, they mean you have to look at the evidence to assess the quality of a thing, person, or experience. 

Are you ready to learn more English phrases and expand your vocabulary? Check out our idioms blog for idioms, expressions, sayings, and more!     

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.