Sailor Speak of the Week – Prow



  • An older term for the bow of any vessel.


16th century. From the Old French word, proue, and back to the Old Greek, proira, meaning the bow of a ship.


Often used interchangeably with the word, bow. It means the same thing, although some contend that the word prow specifically refers to the part of the vessel that’s above the water. The term can also refer to a type of sailing barge found in Bombay.


King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.

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