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

She was initially said to be feral, but her friendly nature ruled out that possibility. Sian Ferguson, Good Housekeeping, "Why Adopting My Anxious Kitten Was The Best Thing I Ever Did For My Mental Health," 9 June 2017 Indeed, once father and daughter rejoin society, the film’s primary dilemma emerges: While Tom quickly takes to a less feral existence, her father has a much harder time adjusting. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "'Leave No Trace' Is Brutally Honest About Rewilding," 28 June 2018 The edginess is apparent even in the kids, from the feral Isabel to another teenage character who seems to exist solely to set up a third film. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Sicario' gets a grim but timely sequel in 'Day of the Soldado'," 27 June 2018 This is in play with a fetching feral rose that Hilker has allowed to populate a corner of the property. Adrian Higgins, sacbee, "As for beauty and fragrance, the rambler comes up roses," 15 June 2018 The clinic also houses a surgical suite in which doctors operate on animals who have been adopted, shelter animals and cats brought in through CAP’s feral cat spay and neuter program. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Citizens for Animal Protection expands low-cost clinic hours," 12 June 2018 The feral herd, which numbers about 100, is thought to be descended from Spanish Mustangs brought to the North Carolina coast by explorers four centuries ago, according to VisitCurrituck.com. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Wild horse killed on NC's Outer Banks. Her mate stood watch over the body all night.," 11 June 2018 Sara Dawdy is the feral cat intervention coordinator at the Louisiana SPCA. Robert Rhoden, NOLA.com, "La. black bear makes himself at home in city of Winnfield: report," 1 June 2018 The 641-page bill also addresses a range of issues related to agriculture, such as livestock disaster programs, conservation, feral swine, farm loan programs and broadband services in rural areas, just to name a few. Ashley Killough, CNN, "House is expected to vote on farm bill Friday," 18 May 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

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for feral

The first known use of feral was in 1604

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on feral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with feral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for feral

Nglish: Translation of feral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of feral for Arabic Speakers

Comments on feral

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to make faulty or ineffective

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