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From Middle English prowesse, prouwesse, prouesce, from Old French proeche, proesce, proeësche (goodness; excellence; bravery), from Old French prou, preu, prouz, pruz, proz (good; excellent; brave). Compare English proud.



prowess (countable and uncountable, plural prowesses)

  1. Skillfulness and manual ability; adroitness or dexterity.
    • 2017 November 10, Daniel Taylor, “Youthful England earn draw with Germany but Lingard rues late miss”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      There is such a sense of inferiority sometimes when it comes to facing Germany, with all their World Cups, their penalty prowess and easy sophistication, it might come as a surprise to learn that, in head-to-head encounters, England actually match their opponents.
    • 1913, Ambrose Bierce, An Unfinished Race
      When in liquor he would make foolish wagers. On one of these too frequent occasions he was boasting of his prowess as a pedestrian and athlete, and the outcome was a match against nature. For a stake of one sovereign he undertook to run all the way to Coventry and back, a distance of something more than forty miles.
  2. Distinguished bravery or courage, especially in battle; heroism
    • 1917, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, England, Awake!
      Her smiling eyes see but the vanished time
      Of splendid prowess, and of deeds sublime.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  • The Oxford Paperback Dictionary fourth edition ↑ISBN