from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To roam through stealthily, as in search of prey or plunder: prowled the alleys of the city after dark.
  • intransitive v. To rove furtively or with predatory intent: cats prowling through the neighborhood.
  • n. The act or an instance of prowling.
  • idiom on the prowl Actively looking for something: salespeople on the prowl for better jobs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To be on the lookout for some prey.
  • v. To be watching over something.
  • v. To fanny about, seemingly aimlessly.
  • v. To walk authoratively.
  • n. The act of prowling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of prowling.
  • intransitive v. To rove or wander stealthily, esp. for prey, as a wild beast; hence, to prey; to plunder.
  • transitive v. To rove over, through, or about in a stealthy manner; esp., to search in, as for prey or booty.
  • transitive v. To collect by plunder.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rove or wander over in a stealthy manner: as, to prowl the woods or the streets.
  • To collect by plunder.
  • To rove or wander stealthily, as one in search of prey or plunder; search carefully, and in a quiet or secretive manner.
  • To plunder; prey; foray.
  • n. The act of prowling; a roving as for prey: as, to be on the prowl.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move about in or as if in a predatory manner
  • n. the act of prowling (walking about in a stealthy manner)
  • v. loiter about, with no apparent aim


Middle English prollen, to move about.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • "But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are."
    - Dr Seuss, 'Oh! The Places You’ll Go!'

    October 13, 2008