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From Middle English prollen, of unknown origin.


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prowl (third-person singular simple present prowls, present participle prowling, simple past and past participle prowled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To rove over, through, or about in a stealthy manner; especially, to search in, as for prey or booty.
    Watch the lioness prowling in the shrubbery for zebras.
    It's tough to sneak vandalism into Wikipedia as there are plenty of other users prowling the Recent Changes page.
    • 2011 January 5, Mark Ashenden, “Wolverhampton 1 - 0 Chelsea”, in BBC[1]:
      While McCarthy prowled the touchline barking orders, his opposite number watched on motionless and expressionless and, with 25 minutes to go, decided to throw on Nicolas Anelka for Kalou.
  2. (intransitive) To idle; to go about aimlessly.
    That dandy has nothing better to do than prowl around town all day in his pinstripe suit.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To collect by plunder.
    to prowl money

Derived terms[edit]



prowl (plural prowls)

  1. (colloquial) The act of prowling.
    I'm going on a midnight prowl.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Smart to this entry?)