[ prou-is ]
/ ˈpraʊ ɪs /


exceptional valor, bravery, or ability, especially in combat or battle.
exceptional or superior ability, skill, or strength: his prowess as a public speaker.
a valiant or daring deed.

Nearby words

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

Origin of prowess

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French proesse, proece goodness, bravery, equivalent to prou prow2 + -esse < Latin -itia -ice

Related formsprow·essed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prowess

British Dictionary definitions for prowess


/ (ˈpraʊɪs) /


outstanding or superior skill or ability
bravery or fearlessness, esp in battle

Word Origin for prowess

C13: from Old French proesce, from prou good; see proud

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 prowess



late 13c., prouesse, from Old French proece "prowess, courage, brave deed" (Modern French prouesse), from prou, later variant of prud "brave, valiant," from Vulgar Latin *prodem (cf. Spanish proeza, Italian prodezza; see proud). Prow was in Middle English as a noun meaning "advantage, profit," also as a related adjective ("valiant, brave"), but it has become obsolete. "In 15-17th c. often a monosyllable" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper