Where does the phrase "the proof of the pudding" come from?
Perhaps it's a sign of our increasingly fast-paced, short-attention span society that even our old proverbs are being shortened and clipped down from the original full sayings. Word Detective and other etymology sites pointed out that the phrase originated as "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." It means that the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it's put to use. The meaning is often summed up as "results are what count."
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the phrase dates back to at least 1615 when Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote. In this comic novel, the phrase is stated as, "The proof of the pudding is the eating."
Word Detective and the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms note that the phrase came into use around 1600. However, a bulletin board quotes The Dictionary of Cliches, which dates the phrase to the 14th century. The board also mentions a 1682 version from Bileau's Le Lutrin, which read, "The proof of th' pudding's seen i' the eating." A page of pudding definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary also cites the author Boileau (Bileau) as the first to use the phrase. So it seems likely that the phrase dates back to the 1600s, though the identity of its author is disputed.
These days, some people shorten the phrase to simply "proof of the pudding." Even the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language trims it down. Occasionally, it is even further abbreviated to "proof in pudding," irritating purists who argue that the shortened versions don't mean anything on their own. Let's just hope it doesn't get further reduced any time soon. "Proofpudding" just doesn't cut it.
A man fell in a deep pit and suffered greatly. A Buddhist said: 'Meditate and ignore your circumstances.' A Hindu said: 'You must have bad karma, you deserve your fate.' But Jesus had pity on the man, climbed down and rescued him.