• synonyms


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

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prowesses

Historical Examples

  • The sagas have sung the prowesses of Olaf; he is brave among the bravest.

    The Iron Arrow Head or The Buckler Maiden

    Eugne Sue

  • He dilated upon his own prowesses, caressed his moustache, and threw side glances at Joan.

British Dictionary definitions for prowesses


  1. outstanding or superior skill or ability
  2. bravery or fearlessness, esp in battle
Show More

Word Origin

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 prowesses



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].

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper