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 The city spends about $175,000 a year to perform 4,200 spay-neuter surgeries on feral cats through its community cat program. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Sep. 2021 Feral pigs – also called feral hogs, swine and wild boars – roam Alabama and other Southern states, rooting up crops and pastures and stomping through forests, fences and gardens. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2021 As Twitter user Willie McNabb tried to warn in 2019, the threat of feral hogs is real—whether their numbers range from 30 to 50 in the backyard or millions across America. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 July 2021 In many cases, hunters are allowed to take multiple animals, including unlimited numbers of feral hogs and coyotes. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 17 July 2021 Meanwhile, Nightbitch grows ever more feral, although Yoder keeps the transformation ambiguous. Washington Post, 26 July 2021 Onscreen, Temple has a pouty, childlike presence and a slightly feral quality, like a girl raised by some very emotionally available wolves. New York Times, 22 July 2021 The increase in draw permits and categories this season is due in part to the expansion of private lands hunts that include three new categories for quail, spring turkey and feral hog. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 17 July 2021 There’s a feral rawness to its woods, and the roads that lead through them are lonely and trance-inducing. Andrew Kay, Longreads, 17 July 2021

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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Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Feral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feral. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce feral (audio) , ˈfer- \

Kids Definition of feral

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

More from Merriam-Webster on feral

Nglish: Translation of feral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of feral for Arabic Speakers


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