feral

adjective

fe·​ral ˈfir-əl How to pronounce feral (audio)
ˈfer-;
ˈfe-rəl How to pronounce feral (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast
feral teeth
feral instincts
2
a
: not domesticated or cultivated : wild
feral animals
b
: having escaped from domestication and become wild
feral cats
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 In this distant future, apes have taken over but live in isolated colonies, while humans have regressed into feral creatures. Ew Staff, EW.com, 7 June 2024 In addition to very large alligators, the swamp is home to multiple species of venomous snakes, along with bears, bobcats and feral hogs. Mark Price, Miami Herald, 29 May 2024 The young chimp protagonist, Noa (Owen Teague), stumbles upon the structure alongside the silent, feral human girl who has become his travel companion. Phillip MacIak, New York Times, 23 May 2024 A lot of cottontails and gray squirrels had been popping up on trail cameras, along with gray fox, opossum, feral cats, and deer; cougars eat them all. Scott Haugen, Outdoor Life, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for feral 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'feral.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of feral was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near feral

Cite this Entry

“Feral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feral. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

feral

adjective
fe·​ral ˈfir-əl How to pronounce feral (audio) ˈfer- How to pronounce feral (audio)
: having escaped from domestication and become wild
feral cats

More from Merriam-Webster on feral

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!