- to rove or go about stealthily, as in search of prey, something to steal, etc.
- 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
Synonyms for prowl
- (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
- moving around stealthily
- zealously pursuing members of the opposite sex
Word Origin for prowl
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.
on the prowl
Actively looking for something, as in Their underpaid computer programmers are always on the prowl for better jobs. This idiom transfers an animal's search for prey to human pursuits that are usually less bloodthirsty. [c. 1800]