: a person or animal that prowls
Within a few million years of this major turning point in Earth history, the seas were swarming with myriad forms of life, swimmers, prowlers, sedentary beasts, and burrowers.—Roger Lewin
especially : a person who moves through an area or place in a quiet and stealthy way in order to commit a crime
There were reports of a prowler in the neighborhood.
He felt uneasy being out there by himself. No one ever walked in Linden Hills, and he didn't want to be mistaken for a prowler. —Gloria Naylor
… she kills him with a shotgun, claiming that in the dark she mistook him for a prowler. —Lawrence Eisenberg
Recent Examples on the Web Allen met with detectives voluntarily on Aug. 10 about the June breach of privacy case and admitted being the prowler. —Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 13 Apr. 2023 Officers responded and spoke to the resident, who said the prowler had promptly fled the scene. —Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Jan. 2023 The same night the prowler showed up at my house, a car was stolen from in front of a neighbor’s home. —Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 The sound of its festivities disturbs Grendel, a monstrous descendant of Cain and prowler of the fens, who launches a series of deadly nighttime attacks on the men sleeping in the hall. —Irina Dumitrescu, The New York Review of Books, 17 Nov. 2020 Police arrested Corra following a reported car prowler in the 2700 block of 15th Place. —Mckenna Ross/oregonlive.com, oregonlive, 6 June 2019 The prowler’s image was captured on surveillance video recorded in the backyard. —Caleb Lunetta, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Nov. 2022 The film's narrative structure plays out much like Friday the 13th (1980) as a horror/whodunit with the identity of the prowler remaining a secret until the end of the movie. —Steven Thrash, EW.com, 27 Oct. 2022 Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones posted a tweet on Sept. 6 of surveillance footage of the alleged prowler peering into somebody’s home on Aug. 22 at approximately 1:23 a.m. —Jon Haworth, ABC News, 9 Sep. 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prowler.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
See Definitions and Examples »
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Words at Play
Palter, Dissemble, and Other Words for Lying
Skunk, Bayou, and Other Words with Native American Origins
You've used more than you might think
Words For Things You Didn't Know Have Names, Vol. 2
When 'thingamajig' and 'thingamabob' just won't do
When Were Words First Used?
Look up any year to find out
Ask the Editors