Definition of prowl in English:



[no object]
  • (of a person or animal) move about restlessly and stealthily, especially in search of prey.

    ‘lions prowling in the bush’
    with object ‘youngsters were prowling the streets in droves’
    • ‘Not expecting Remus for quite awhile I just prowled around, looking at old axes and shovels that had been left behind.’
    • ‘Janet prowled around the cart, pouncing on anything that moved.’
    • ‘Some where in the back of her mind an image flashed, a tiger prowling on a barren landscape.’
    • ‘"Then we went into the tiger enclosure and there were three tigers prowling around really close.’
    • ‘We were huddled in a shadowy corner so that just in case anyone was prowling around they wouldn't spot us.’
    • ‘The Indians are constantly prowling around trying to steal our horses and kill straggling men.’
    • ‘Initially, the bears come prowling in search of roots, forbs, and berries in the moist riverine bottoms.’
    • ‘There have been a few laughs around the village this week following the Democrat's cover of the colonies of wild feral cats prowling around.’
    • ‘The stars and crew of Coronation Street have become used to seeing politicians prowling round their place of work, as though a picture on the set of Britain's most venerable soap opera is a political rite of passage.’
    • ‘But when I see cats prowling on my property, I have no qualms about dousing them with water.’
    • ‘A reduction caused by global warming in the massive sheets of Arctic sea ice that polar bears prowl for their prey could have devastating consequences for the world's largest land predator, a leading conservation group has warned.’
    • ‘Somewhere just outside the glow of the fire, a tiger prowled.’
    • ‘An imposing leather-clad figure whose movements reminded one of a large cat prowling.’
    • ‘A nice patch of wild prairie, through which a Mega-Cat could prowl in search of prey had been replaced by a flat, featureless mud-plain.’
    • ‘Suddenly my ears perked up, like a gazelle being alerted to a lion prowling about.’
    • ‘This is a great way to experience the bush, especially up around the Okavango Delta in Botswana, when there's no moon and the lions are prowling around the campsite.’
    • ‘Kathleen Fisher, of Clitheroe, was making a cup of tea on Boxing Day at her daughter's home at Lindeth Farm, Winster, when she spotted a large black cat prowling in her neighbour's garden.’
    • ‘The lines formed into elephants chewing sugarcane, tigers prowling and lions growling and then colour was filled to bring alive the green surroundings of the zoo.’
    • ‘I want to live in a land in which wolves might prowl.’
    • ‘It brings out deeply hidden atavistic instincts buried deep within you and you begin to prowl in search of prey.’
    move stealthily, slink, skulk, steal, nose, pussyfoot, sneak, sidle, stalk, creep
    View synonyms


  • An act of prowling.

    ‘I met her once on one of my off-duty bookshop prowls’
    • ‘He sleeps curled up in dark corners and his movements consist largely of prowls and leaps.’
    • ‘I have a daily prowl, like everyone else; I go here, here, here.’
    • ‘While Rawlin and David, looking like mongrels back from a prowl, laugh and stare at us like we were some sort of surreal aliens.’
    • ‘She very nearly made Edie feel inadequate by the sheer felinity of her movements, by the sensuous grace of her silent prowl, the lively flicks of her tail.’
    • ‘Caliesen stopped his prowl around the room and looked at her, his big yellow eyes fixed on her.’


  • on the prowl

    • Prowling around in search of prey.

      ‘there is a serial killer on the prowl’
      • ‘The shootings took place just eight miles from each other, raising fears a gunman could be on the prowl in the Highlands.’
      • ‘IS THIS picture the long-awaited proof that big black cats are on the prowl in Cumbria?’
      • ‘The survey will show where in Britain wild cats are on the prowl.’
      • ‘Burglars are also on the prowl for bank statements, credit cards and passports to obtain credit in your name or to take over your accounts.’
      • ‘Melita Scheffel is on the prowl for books on neurology and paleontology.’
      • ‘Could a panther be on the prowl in West End's Itchen Valley Country Park where dog walkers and joggers normally freely roam?’
      • ‘Affluent professionals living in the city centre are being targeted by thieves on the prowl for rich pickings at plush apartments.’
      • ‘Worried that there was a thief on the prowl, hotel owner Hazel Hart immediately ordered a search of the building.’
      • ‘Head on out to the home improvement store because you're on the prowl for paint.’
      • ‘Two scrawny dogs and a lone cat are on the prowl, and the air is filled with swarms of ladybugs.’


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.