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  1. any of various types of Indonesian boats, especially a swift Malay sailing boat built with the lee side flat and balanced by a single outrigger.
Also prao, prau, prahu.

Origin of proa

1575–85; < Malay pərahu, pərau (spelling perahu) (< Kannada paḍahu, or a cognate Dravidian word); probably influenced by Spanish or Portuguese proa prow1, bow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for proa

Historical Examples

  • Even a Malay proa, manned by pirates, would have been welcomed.

    Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs

    William H. G. Kingston

  • She was a proa, and this would indicate that Phina Island was not far from Malaysia.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • The poor man had been almost out of his mind with fright since he had seen the proa.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • He was determined to ascertain, yes or no, if the proa had definitely left the island.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • When sufficiently dried, it is stowed away in the hold of the proa.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

British Dictionary definitions for proa



  1. any of several kinds of canoe-like boats used in the South Pacific, esp one equipped with an outrigger and sails

Word Origin

C16: from Malay parāhū a boat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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