fe·​ral | \ ˈfir-əl How to pronounce feral (audio) , ˈfer-; ˈfe-rəl How to pronounce feral (audio) \

Definition of feral

1 : of, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast feral teeth feral instincts
2a : not domesticated or cultivated : wild feral animals
b : having escaped from domestication and become wild feral cats

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Other Words from feral

feral noun

Choose the Right Synonym for feral

brutal, brutish, bestial, feral mean characteristic of an animal in nature, action, or instinct. brutal applies to people, their acts, or their words and suggests a lack of intelligence, feeling, or humanity. a senseless and brutal war brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct. brutish stupidity bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts. bestial depravity feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals. the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses

Examples of feral in a Sentence

They led a feral existence. animal experts discourage homeowners from trying to adopt feral animals as pets
Recent Examples on the Web Another recommendation includes possible spay and neuter community events for pet owners and collaboration with pet groups to attempt to reduce the feral population, which also influences pet waste numbers. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership continues to build watershed protection plan," 6 Aug. 2020 Additionally, the refuge will host two feral hog hunts and one spring turkey hunt in 2021. Matt Williams, Dallas News, "Drawn hunts are worth the gamble this holiday weekend," 4 July 2020 Springtime through early summer is the most active time of the year for feral cat births in South Texas. Cathy M. Rosenthal, ExpressNews.com, "Animals Matter: Fewer feral cats will be neutered this year because of coronavirus," 3 July 2020 Elsewhere in the collection, human life takes on nebulous shapes: a zoology conference turns feral, a volleyball game descends into literal hell, and immortals flirt with the limits of power and possession. Wired Staff, Wired, "WIRED’s Ultimate Summer Reading List," 2 July 2020 For example, controlling feral cats can be extremely controversial. Rene Ebersole, National Geographic, "National parks are being overrun by invasive species," 24 June 2020 One evening while bedding down for the night in a McDonald’s parking lot, a few miles from Disney World, her daughter Phoenix spotted a man feeding a group of feral cats. Greg Jaffe, Washington Post, "The pandemic made them homeless. Post readers helped.," 26 June 2020 He is also known for his work trapping and killing invasive green iguana, Egyptian geese and feral hogs. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, "Python hunter alone in Florida Everglades suffers bloody bite, brings home 17-foot snake," 19 June 2020 The feral animals devastate farmland and consume resources relied upon by native species. Fox News, "Join Nascar's Kurt Busch for a Texas bow hunt," 12 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'feral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of feral

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for feral

Medieval Latin feralis, from Latin fera wild animal, from feminine of ferus wild — more at fierce

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Time Traveler for feral

Time Traveler

The first known use of feral was in 1604

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Statistics for feral

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feral. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for feral


How to pronounce feral (audio) How to pronounce feral (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of feral

: of, relating to, or resembling a wild beast
used to describe an animal (such as a cat or dog) that has escaped and become wild


fe·​ral | \ ˈfir-əl How to pronounce feral (audio) , ˈfer- \

Kids Definition of feral

: having escaped from the care of people and become wild feral pigs

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More from Merriam-Webster on feral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for feral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with feral

Nglish: Translation of feral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of feral for Arabic Speakers

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