from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Superior skill or ability.
  • noun Superior strength, courage, or daring, especially in battle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Excellence; virtue; goodness; integrity.
  • noun Bravery; valor; particularly, military bravery combined with skill; gallantry; daring.
  • noun A feat or deed of valor; a valiant act.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Distinguished bravery; valor; especially, military bravery and skill; gallantry; intrepidity; fearlessness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Skillfulness and manual ability; adroitness or dexterity.
  • noun Distinguished bravery or courage, especially in battle; heroism

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

  • noun a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation


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

[Middle English prowesse, from Old French proesse, from prud, prou, brave; see proud.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French proeche (Modern French: prouesse)


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  • When even sex has ceased to be sensation

    he calls his marriage

    mutual consolation

    and, lying with his wife

    without prowess,

    he calls the appalling sheets

    a wilderness.

    - Peter Reading, Nomenclator, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008

  • A curious word this. If one did not know what it meant, one might think it referred to a female "prow", along the lines of authoress, poetess, mayoress, etc. I like that, while it suggests femininity (though I know that the -ess suffix means something else here, along the lines of duress), it refers to skill and expertise.

    September 5, 2008

  • sings)

    Yeh, it's sad, believe me, Missy

    When you're born to be a sissy,

    Without the vim and verve.

    But I could show my prowess --

    Be a lion not a mou-ess --

    If I only had the nerve

    I'm afraid there's no denyin'

    I'm just a dande-lion --

    A fate I don't deserve.

    I'd be brave as a blizzard --

    June 11, 2010