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proof of the pudding, the

Results are what count, as in Let's see if this ad actually helps sales—the proof of the pudding, you know. The full expression of this proverb, dating from about 1600, is The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but it has become so well known that it is often abbreviated.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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