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Here is the definition of corroborate in my dictionary:

to provide information that supports or helps to prove someone else’s statement, idea etc

It seems that it has the similar meaning with prove. So, what would be the difference between corroborate and prove?

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Corroborate is primarily a word that applies when apodeictic proof of a logical or mathematical type is impossible. Instead, what is meant by proof in such cases is an accumulation of sufficient evidence. Any supporting evidence beyond the bare minimum required corroborates that bare minimum and so bolsters the proof. The Pythagorean Theorem does not need corroboration; an historical conclusion is much more reliable if the primary evidence can be corroborated by additional evidence.

The problem you are having is that proof actually has two distinct meanings. Corroborate meaning help to prove makes no sense in conjunction with the absolute proofs of logic or mathematics. It makes all the sense in the world with prove in the sense of accumulate sufficient evidence.

  • I had a bit hard time to understand your answer, but I will try my best. :( – dan Jun 1 '18 at 7:31
  • The point I was trying to make is that one sense of proof is sufficiency of evidence. In that sense, additional evidence helps the proof. The testimony of a credible witness may be the proof, but it is corroborated by the evidence of a second witness. – Jeff Morrow Jun 1 '18 at 10:38

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