fe·​ral ˈfir-əl How to pronounce feral (audio)
ˈfe-rəl How to pronounce feral (audio)
: of, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast
feral teeth
feral instincts
: not domesticated or cultivated : wild
feral animals
: 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

Example Sentences

They led a feral existence. animal experts discourage homeowners from trying to adopt feral animals as pets
Recent Examples on the Web Mora, along with co-writer Maria Camila Arias, empathetically paints a gripping portrait of a group of feral boys who struggle with breaking out of the script laid out for and by them. Manuel Betancourt, Variety, 22 Nov. 2022 And also, the Deftones, just the dichotomy of the really hard guitars and the darkness, but then also the feral vocal and the softness and the almost tenderness of his vocal is profound. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2022 Pooh and Piglet experience a drastic drop in food as Christopher grew up and over the years became increasingly hungry and feral. Clark Collis, EW.com, 2 Nov. 2022 The film has been praised for its feral, even savage, portrayal of the hardscrabble realities of the majestic Galician countryside. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Nov. 2022 Chesbro arrived at the Humane Society of the Desert a feral dog, a pup who had gone six months with little human contact. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 26 Oct. 2022 The latest 911 variant had been rumored to receive a 4.2-liter mill, the same displacement as the feral GT3 R race car, but Porsche says the bigger engine wouldn’t have met emissions standards. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 22 Oct. 2022 The program helps keep the feral cat population lower in the nearby neighborhoods. cleveland, 17 Oct. 2022 Played by Macedonian actress Sara Klimoska, Nevena has a feral animal beauty and grace, and knows almost nothing of the world of humans. Time, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


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

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