Definition of prowl in English:



  • (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’
    • ‘It brings out deeply hidden atavistic instincts buried deep within you and you begin to prowl in search of prey.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Initially, the bears come prowling in search of roots, forbs, and berries in the moist riverine bottoms.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘We were huddled in a shadowy corner so that just in case anyone was prowling around they wouldn't spot us.’
    • ‘But when I see cats prowling on my property, I have no qualms about dousing them with water.’
    • ‘I want to live in a land in which wolves might prowl.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘"Then we went into the tiger enclosure and there were three tigers prowling around really close.’
    • ‘A nice patch of wild prairie, through which a Mega-Cat could prowl in search of prey had been replaced by a flat, featureless mud-plain.’
    • ‘Janet prowled around the cart, pouncing on anything that moved.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some where in the back of her mind an image flashed, a tiger prowling on a barren landscape.’
    • ‘The Indians are constantly prowling around trying to steal our horses and kill straggling men.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Suddenly my ears perked up, like a gazelle being alerted to a lion prowling about.’
    • ‘Not expecting Remus for quite awhile I just prowled around, looking at old axes and shovels that had been left behind.’
    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.’
    • ‘Caliesen stopped his prowl around the room and looked at her, his big yellow eyes fixed on her.’
    • ‘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.’


  • on the prowl

    • Prowling around in search of prey.

      ‘there is a serial killer on the prowl’
      • ‘Affluent professionals living in the city centre are being targeted by thieves on the prowl for rich pickings at plush apartments.’
      • ‘Could a panther be on the prowl in West End's Itchen Valley Country Park where dog walkers and joggers normally freely roam?’
      • ‘Melita Scheffel is on the prowl for books on neurology and paleontology.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘IS THIS picture the long-awaited proof that big black cats are on the prowl in Cumbria?’
      • ‘The shootings took place just eight miles from each other, raising fears a gunman could be on the prowl in the Highlands.’
      • ‘The survey will show where in Britain wild cats are on the prowl.’
      • ‘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.