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[prou] /praʊ/
the forepart of a ship or boat; bow.
the front end of an airship.
Literary. a ship.
Origin of prow1
1545-55; < Middle French proue < Upper Italian (Genoese) prua < Latin prōra < Greek prôira
Related forms
prowed, adjective


[prou] /praʊ/
adjective, Archaic.
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French prou < Vulgar Latin *prōdis. See proud Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The figure of the girl in the prow of the hindmost boat was blurred and indistinct.

    The Heart of Unaga Ridgwell Cullum
  • As they overtook the prow, Pungarin ordered the starboard rowers to cease.

    Under the Waves R M Ballantyne
  • Her sail was furled, she looked taut and trim, and he could discern a figure at her prow which raised its arms and again hallooed.

    Dorothy's Travels Evelyn Raymond
  • And the ship turned her prow toward America and sailed away.

  • He knew how to handle his paddle, however, the 15 prow of his craft keeping true though his strokes were slow and powerful.

    Jim Charles G. D. Roberts
  • She looked at him as he stood with his hand on the prow of the boat.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • An up-curl was steamed on the prow of each, and rawhide lashings held all to the crossbars.

    Rolf In The Woods Ernest Thompson Seton
  • As the prow drove forward down-stream, exultation entered into him.

    Murder Point Coningsby Dawson
  • And in the night our vessel strikes its prow against the rocks.

    Frdric Mistral Charles Alfred Downer
British Dictionary definitions for prow


the bow of a vessel
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for prow

"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
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