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[proul] /praʊl/
verb (used without object)
to rove or go about stealthily, as in search of prey, something to steal, etc.
verb (used with object)
to rove over or through in search of what may be found:
The cat prowled the alleys in search of food.
act of prowling.
on the prowl, in the act of prowling; searching stealthily:
The cat is on the prowl for mice.
Origin of prowl
1350-1400; Middle English prollen < ?
Related forms
prowlingly, adverb
unprowling, adjective
1. roam. See lurk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prowled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Stevie prowled round the table like an excited animal in a cage.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • I came back to my new hunting ground and all night long I prowled about.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Eric prowled through the hall to his father's big work-room.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • He and Mahon prowled soberly about hatches and ventilators, sniffing.

    Youth Joseph Conrad
  • So I prowled about and got plenty, chipping off as much as I could conveniently carry.

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton
  • Hilton got up, shoved both hands into his pockets, and prowled about the room.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • Garlock got up, lighted a cigarette, and prowled about the big room.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • There were no forbidden drawing-rooms now; I prowled about as I pleased.

    Cat and Dog

    Julia Charlotte Maitland
British Dictionary definitions for prowled


when intr, often foll by around or about. to move stealthily around (a place) as if in search of prey or plunder
the act of prowling
on the prowl
  1. moving around stealthily
  2. zealously pursuing members of the opposite sex
Derived Forms
prowler, noun
Word Origin
C14 prollen, of unknown origin
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 prowled



late 14c., prollen, "move about in search of something," of unknown origin, with no known cognates. Spelling with -w- is from 1500s (cf. bowl), but pronounced "prôll" till late 18c. Meaning "go stealthily in search of prey" is first recorded 1580s. Related: Prowled; prowling. The noun, in on the prowl, is attested from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for prowled



To search by running the hands over the person; frisk: prowled me over carefully with his left hand (1914+)

Related Terms

on the prowl

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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