Definition of prowl in US English:



  • (of a person or animal) move around restlessly and stealthily, especially in search of or as if in search of prey.

    with object ‘black bears prowl the canyons’
    no object ‘committee members prowling around the offices at night with flashlights’
    • ‘A nice patch of wild prairie, through which a Mega-Cat could prowl in search of prey had been replaced by a flat, featureless mud-plain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Initially, the bears come prowling in search of roots, forbs, and berries in the moist riverine bottoms.’
    • ‘I want to live in a land in which wolves might prowl.’
    • ‘But when I see cats prowling on my property, I have no qualms about dousing them with water.’
    • ‘Janet prowled around the cart, pouncing on anything that moved.’
    • ‘"Then we went into the tiger enclosure and there were three tigers prowling around really close.’
    • ‘The Indians are constantly prowling around trying to steal our horses and kill straggling men.’
    • ‘It brings out deeply hidden atavistic instincts buried deep within you and you begin to prowl in search of prey.’
    • ‘We were huddled in a shadowy corner so that just in case anyone was prowling around they wouldn't spot us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Suddenly my ears perked up, like a gazelle being alerted to a lion prowling about.’
    • ‘An imposing leather-clad figure whose movements reminded one of a large cat prowling.’
    • ‘Somewhere just outside the glow of the fire, a tiger prowled.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some where in the back of her mind an image flashed, a tiger prowling on a barren landscape.’
    • ‘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 bookstore prowls’
    • ‘While Rawlin and David, looking like mongrels back from a prowl, laugh and stare at us like we were some sort of surreal aliens.’
    • ‘He sleeps curled up in dark corners and his movements consist largely of prowls and leaps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have a daily prowl, like everyone else; I go here, here, here.’


  • on the prowl

    • (of a person or animal) moving around in search or as if in search of prey.

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


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.