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[prou] /praʊ/
the forepart of a ship or boat; bow.
the front end of an airship.
Literary. a ship.
Origin of prow1
1545-55; < Middle French proue < Upper Italian (Genoese) prua < Latin prōra < Greek prôira
Related forms
prowed, adjective


[prou] /praʊ/
adjective, Archaic.
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French prou < Vulgar Latin *prōdis. See proud Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Into the first of them she ran the boat until its prow touched the sandy bottom.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • She looked at him as he stood with his hand on the prow of the boat.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • As the prow drove forward down-stream, exultation entered into him.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson
  • But there were reserves in the prow, and these were drawn upon to fill the empty places.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • It seemed as if something had gone awry with the prow of their ship.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • It was not long before Pilgrim had the water "singing at her prow."

    Afloat on the Ohio

    Reuben Gold Thwaites
  • The anchor is cast from the prow; the sterns are grounded on the beach.

  • Shandon and Johnson, standing on the prow, were contemplating the position.

  • They made her prow sharp so that she would cut the water easily.

    An American Robinson Crusoe Samuel. B. Allison
British Dictionary definitions for prow


the bow of a vessel
Word Origin
C16: from Old French proue, from Latin prora, from Greek prōra; related to Latin pro in front
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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Word Origin and History for prow

"forepart of a ship," 1550s, from Middle French proue, from Italian (Genoese) prua, from Vulgar Latin *proda, by dissimilation from Latin prora "prow," from Greek proira, related to pro "before, forward," proi "early in the morning," from PIE *pre-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

Middle English and early Modern English (and Scott) had prore in same sense, from Latin. Modern Italian has proda only in sense "shore, bank." Prow and poop meant "the whole ship," hence 16c.-17c. figurative use of the expression for "the whole" (of anything).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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