[ prou ]
/ praʊ /


the forepart of a ship or boat; bow.
the front end of an airship.
Literary. a ship.

Nearby words

  1. provost,
  2. provost court,
  3. provost guard,
  4. provost marshal,
  5. provost sergeant,
  6. prowar,
  7. prowess,
  8. prowfish,
  9. prowl,
  10. prowl car

Origin of prow

1545–55; < Middle French proue < Upper Italian (Genoese) prua < Latin prōra < Greek prôira

Related formsprowed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for prowed


/ (praʊ) /


the bow of a vessel

Word Origin for prow

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

Word Origin and History for prowed



"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