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[f. L. dmonstrt-, ppl. stem of dmonstrre to point out, show, prove, f. DE- I. 3 + monstrre to show, point out. For the shifting of the stress see CONTEMPLATE. Both pronunciations appear in Shakes.]

For lessons on the topic of Demonstration, follow this link.


1. trans.

To point out, indicate; to exhibit, set forth. Obs. Const. simple obj. or obj. clause. (So in the other trans. senses.)



1552 HULOET, Demonstrate, indico, monstro. 1563 SHUTE Archit. Dijb, In the which bodye of the pedestall is demonstrated Ichnographia. 1599 SHAKES. Hen. V, IV. ii. 54 Description cannot sute it selfe in words, To demonstrate the Life of such a Battaile. a1633 AUSTIN Medit. (1635) 90 That the Starre stooped downe to Earth and sent forth greater and clearer Beames then before to demonstrate not onely the Place, but the very Child. 1650 CROMWELL Let. 4 Sept., Coming to our quarters at night, and demonstrating our apprehensions to some of the colonels, they also cheerfully concurred. 1684 R. H. School Recreat. 148 We come next to demonstrate the Time not proper, i.e. Unseasonable when [etc.].


To make known or exhibit by outward indications; to manifest, show, display. Obs.


1599 A. M. tr. Gabelhouer's Bk. Physicke 312/1 be the Canker, it will after the third time demonstrate it selfe with a little knobbe or tumor. 1600 SHAKES. A.Y.L. III. ii. 400 Euerie thing about you, demonstrating a carelesse desolation. 1634 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. 157 They be very apt on prompt occasions, to demonstrate valour and resolution. 1653 H. COGAN tr. Pinto's Trav. xxviii. 111 By this Figure these Idolaters would demonstrate that she was the Queen of the fiery sphear. 1734 tr. Rollin's Anc. Hist. (1827) I. 99 No people ever demonstrated such extent of genius. 1803 WELLINGTON in Owen Desp. 224 His Highness has demonstrated the most implicit confidence in the protection of the British power.

b. To express (one's feelings) demonstratively.

1855 THACKERAY Newcomes II. 339 Paul was a personage who demonstrated all his sentiments, and performed his various parts in life with the greatest vigour.


3. To describe and explain by help of a specimen or specimens, or by experiment, as a method of teaching a science, e.g. anatomy, chemistry; also absol. to teach as a demonstrator.


1683 ROBINSON in Ray's Corr. (1848) 133 Monsieur Tournefort, a Languedoc man..demonstrates now the plants in the King's Garden here. 1856 DOVE Logic Chr. Faith Introd. §2. 2 note, The anatomist demonstrates, when he points out matters of fact cognisable by the senses. a1859 DE QUINCEY in H. A. Page Life (1877) II. xx. 307 They will do me too much honour by ‘demonstrating’ on such a crazy body as mine.


4. To show or make evident by reasoning; to establish the truth of (a proposition, etc.) by a process of argument or deduction; to prove beyond the possibility of doubt.


1571 DIGGES Pantom. I. xx. Fiijb, This Lemma..or proposition I minde to demonstrate. 1646 SIR T. BROWNE Pseud. Ep. I. ix, Archimedes demonstrates..that the proportion of the Diameter unto the Circumference is as 7 almost unto 22. 1691 RAY Creation (1701) 43 The best medium we have to demonstrate the Being of a Deity. 1754 SHERLOCK Disc. (1759) I. iv. 153 Few Workmen can demonstrate the mechanic Powers of the Instruments they use. 1814 D'ISRAELI Quarrels Auth. (1867) 355 What others conjectured, and some discovered, Harvey demonstrated. 1860 TYNDALL Glac. II. xxx. 404 The existence of this state of strain may be demonstrated.

b. absol.

1604 SHAKES. Oth. III. iii. 431 This may helpe to thicken other proofes, That do demonstrate thinly. 1669 GALE Crt. Gentiles I. Introd. 4 A Mathematician, whose office it is to demonstrate. 1867 J. MARTINEAU Ess. II. 46 Euclid had to demonstrate before there could be a philosophy of geometry.

c. Of things: To prove.

1601 SHAKES. All's Well I. ii. 47 A copie to these yonger times; Which followed well, would demonstrate them now But goers backward. 1802 PALEY Nat. Theol. iii. (1819) 18 It is a matter which experience and observation demonstrate. 1860 TYNDALL Glac. II. xvii. 324 The crevassing of the eastern side of the glacier..does not..demonstrate its slower motion.


5. intr. To make a military demonstration; to make or take part in a public demonstration.


1827 Examiner 297/1 The Spanish army has been so long allowed to demonstrate on the Portuguese frontier. 1882 Blackw. Mag. July 13 There is not water enough for us to go and demonstrate inside the bay. 1888 BRYCE Amer. Commw. II. III. lxxiii. 604 The habit of demonstrating with bands and banners and emblems.

b. trans. (causal.) Obs. rare1.

1803 NELSON in Nicolas Desp. V. 71, I have demonstrated the Victory off Brest, and am now going to seek the Admiral in the ocean.

Hence demonstrated ppl. a., demonstratedly adv., demonstrating vbl. n. and ppl. a.

1650 B. Discolliminium 20 There are demonstrating and determining Providences. 1676 NEWTON in Phil. Trans. XI. 703 To examine a demonstrated proposition. 1678 CUDWORTH Intell. Syst. 145 (R.) A clear foundation for the demonstrating of a Deity distinct from the corporeal world. 1881 FROUDE High Ch. Revival, Short Stud. Ser. IV. (1883) 213 A holy life, it was demonstratedly plain to me, was no monopoly of the sacramental system. 1888 Daily News 4 June 3/1 Demonstrating bodies from all parts of London..assembled on the Embankment. ADDITIONS SERIES 1993


demonstrate, v.

1. 1940 W. FAULKNER Hamlet I. iii. 58 He did not sell sewing-machines for nothing; he had even learned to operate one quite well from demonstrating them. 1957 WODEHOUSE Over Seventy xvi. 153 There appeared on the screen, demonstrating a mattress, a well-upholstered young woman who was introduced as Miss Foam Bedding of 1957. 1974 F. MUIR in Muir & Norden Upon my Word! 25 A little bulky, perhaps,..when she is demonstrating an oven. 1985 Washington Post 16 Jan. E6/1 We sell bastard itemsstuff that won't sell unless it's demonstrated. Anything that's demonstrated has to be unique.