Sailor Speak of the Week – Prow

Definition

Noun

  • An older term for the bow of any vessel.

Origin

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

Comments

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.

References

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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