June 07, 2016
prowess (noun)
\PROW-us\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : great bravery especially in battle2 : very great ability
How do you use it?
"By evening Perrault secured another dog, an old husky, long and lean and gaunt, with a battle-scarred face and a single eye which flashed a warning of prowess that commanded respect." (Jack London, _Call of the Wild_)
Are you a word wiz?

We get "prowess" from the Old French word "prou" meaning "capable," "good," and "valiant." Which other word do you think comes from "prou"?

If you picked A you should be proud of your language prowess! Both of these words are descendants of the French adjective "prou." Speaking of being proud, "proud" is probably another descendant of "prou," coming into English before the 12th century, which makes it older than either "prowess" or "improve." Descendants of "prou" can be traced back to an even older ancestor. Old French got "prou" from the Latin word "prode" meaning "advantage." It is definitely to your advantage to be able to improve yourself to the point of having prowess. Anyone would be proud!
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