fe·ral | \ˈfir-əl, ˈfer-;ˈfe-rəl \

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

These hunt opportunities — for deer, waterfowl, feral hogs and other game — are held on TPWD properties and include hunts for waterfowl, deer and other game. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Lottery-like public program offers expanded Texas hunting opportunities," 30 June 2018 The only felid in Hawai`i are house cats, tame and feral, found in homes and yards and boat harbors and beach parks and deep in the backs of valleys and high on the summit of mountaintops and basically everywhere. Kim Steutermann Rogers, Smithsonian, "How the Tiniest of Parasites is Taking Down the Mightiest of Monk Seals," 9 July 2018 Fourteen-year-old Turtle is growing up feral in Northern California, raised by her father to be a self-reliant survivalist. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘Sapiens,’ ‘Men Without Women’," 29 June 2018 When washing your brushes, only wash the bristles, and don't get the handle or feral (the metal clamp that holds the bristles) wet. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "7 Things Every Makeup Artist Wants You to Know," 22 Mar. 2017 California’s hunters report killing fewer than 5,000 wild pigs each year, a fraction of the state's feral hog population, estimated at between 200,000 and 400,000. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Wild pigs cause millions in damages in California. But hunting them could become easier," 25 June 2018 The Navajo community in Arizona has had to contend with a growing feral horse population ofabout 50,000 to 70,000, according to the statement. Amir Vera, CNN, "Nearly 200 dead horses found on Navajo land in Arizona," 5 May 2018 Texas is home to the largest feral hog population in the United States, with an estimated 4 million hogs statewide. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The ins and outs of feral hog hunting in Texas," 28 Mar. 2018 By the 1930s, some had been released into the wild, both intentionally and accidentally, and began to establish feral populations. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "California Is Asking Residents to Report Sightings of Giant, Invasive Rodents," 14 Feb. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near feral


ferae naturae






Statistics for feral

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for feral

The first known use of feral was in 1604

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More Definitions for feral



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, ˈfer-\

Kids Definition of feral

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

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one that holds something together

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