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[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.
Origin of prowess
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French proesse, proece goodness, bravery, equivalent to prou prow2 + -esse < Latin -itia -ice
Related forms
prowessed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prowess
  • He has no particular record either of military prowess or of outstanding administrative ability.
  • In admitting graduate students, you look for promise and potential as much as prowess.
  • Depending on egos involved, you may cut yourself off at the knees if you go on and on about your prowess in that area.
  • His supple intellect, burgeoning political ambitions, and organizing prowess have garnered far less attention.
  • The color may also be linked to prowess in human athletes.
  • Of course, no serious player attributes his prowess to mere equipment.
  • Apple does not have the executive prowess to run a huge but unsuccessful company that is struggling.
  • The intellectual prowess melded with a willingness to be politically incorrect and say almost anything, anywhere.
  • She stood over six feet tall and had enough bulk and muscle to amaze audiences with her prowess.
  • Nothing, probably, considering the gastric prowess of pigs.
British Dictionary definitions for prowess


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