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 species was last seen in 1857, likely due to the introduction of invasive species such as feral cats and foxes, as well as agricultural land clearing and new diseases, according to an ANU statement. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 10 July 2021 In Australia, feral cats eat about 2 billion reptiles, birds, frogs and mammals each year, the paper said. NBC News, 2 July 2021 The Mexican nonprofit has been working on the island for the past 20 years to eradicate invasive species, first removing nearly 50,000 goats and then eliminating nearly 1500 feral cats. Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Science | AAAS, 29 June 2021 Conservationists say there is evidence that the Tasmanian devil, a carnivorous marsupial with a powerful bite, is effective at reducing feral cats and perhaps even foxes, both of which have decimated Australia’s native flora and fauna. BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2021 The organization hopes that reintroducing native predators in Australia will help reduce the numbers of foxes and feral cats — both of which were introduced by Europeans and now pose a serious threat to native wildlife. Washington Post, 25 May 2021 So when the feral cats of Rio de Janeiro began to fall ill, no one at first thought to ask why. Maryn Mckenna, Scientific American, 19 May 2021 The Alabama Legislature passed a law to allow the nighttime hunting of feral hogs and coyotes with a new license that costs $15 for residents and $51 for non-residents. Frank Sargeant, al, 19 May 2021 The feral hogs, meanwhile, continue to run rampant. Stephen Ornes, The Atlantic, 15 May 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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Statistics for feral

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Feral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feral. Accessed 24 Jul. 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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