verb (used without object)
to rove or go about stealthily, as in search of prey, something to steal, etc.
verb (used with object)
to rove over or through in search of what may be found: The cat prowled the alleys in search of food.
act of prowling.
on the prowl, in the act of prowling; searching stealthily: The cat is on the prowl for mice.

1350–1400; Middle English prollen < ?

prowlingly, adverb
unprowling, adjective

1. roam. See lurk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prowl (praʊl)
vb (when intr, often foll by around or about)
1.  to move stealthily around (a place) as if in search of prey or plunder
2.  the act of prowling
3.  on the prowl
 a.  moving around stealthily
 b.  zealously pursuing members of the opposite sex
[C14 prollen, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., prollen, "move about in search of something," of unknown origin, with no known cognates. Meaning "go stealthily in search of prey" is first recorded 1580s. The noun, in on the prowl, is attested from 1803. Prowler is attested from 1519.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They prowl subway platforms and the parks outside the stations.
Fewer jobs and more people on the prowl equal a seller's market, which drives
  salaries down.
Whatever the motivation, pirates prowl waters all around the world.
Prowl downtown and you'll find a booming contemporary art scene that has grown
  amid old warehouses and storefronts.
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