PROW, the fore-part of a ship, the stem and its surrounding parts, hence used like " keel," by metonymy, of the ship itself. It was in old naval parlance applied to the battery of guns placed in the fore gun-deck. The Fr. proue and cognate forms (Ital. prua, Port, and Span, proa, of which the English is an adaptation) represent Lat. prora, itself adapted from Or. irpoipa, formed from irp6, before, in front. From this word must be distinguished an obsolete " prow," brave, valiant, now only surviving in " prowess," and representing O. Fr. proit, mod. preux, from the first part of Lat. prodesse, to be profitable; the same source gives " proud."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)