fe·​ro·​cious | \fə-ˈrō-shəs \

Definition of ferocious 

1 : exhibiting or given to extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality a ferocious predator the ferocious butchery of women and children

2 : extremely intense ferocious heat The competition among the students was ferocious.

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Other Words from ferocious

ferociously adverb
ferociousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ferocious

fierce, ferocious, barbarous, savage, cruel mean showing fury or malignity in looks or actions. fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack. fierce warriors ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality. a ferocious dog barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people. barbarous treatment of prisoners savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion. a savage criminal cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. the cruel jokes of schoolboys

Examples of ferocious in a Sentence

A ferocious wind swept the beach. The competition among the students was ferocious.

Recent Examples on the Web

The already-ferocious nomination battle is likely to clarify the choices for voters in Senate races across the country, strategists said, and affect other contests down the ballot. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Five times Anthony Kennedy was the fifth vote shows the significance of his retirement," 28 June 2018 In the Sinai Peninsula, an insurgency that gained strength after Morsi’s overthrow and is now led by the Islamic State group has only grown more ferocious, with regular attacks on security forces and deadly church bombings. Maggie Michael, USA TODAY, "Egypt election begins with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi certain winner," 26 Mar. 2018 No Republicans voted for the bill, and though interest groups really did oppose repeal measures last year, the political onslaught is not exactly ferocious. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Donald Trump is making Medicare-for-all inevitable," 3 Aug. 2018 So, when this sign feels rejected, proceed with caution, as lions can also be extremely ferocious. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What the Position of Venus in Your Birth Chart Means for You," 31 July 2018 Cumming swiftly segued from Karen O-esque snarls to angelic, wordless vocals to ferocious head-banging as Jacob Faber pounded the drums. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 3: BlocBoy JB, Billy Currington, MILCK and more," 30 June 2018 Just like that, his teammates respond with ecstatic, ferocious dunks. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Rockets vs. Warriors: The Dead Live Again in Houston," 17 May 2018 But ultimately, DeMar DeRozan’s ferocious dunk and 3-point play near the end of regulation was a key sequence in the Toronto Raptors’ 121-119 overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "DeMar DeRozan's dunk key in Detroit Pistons' loss to Toronto Raptors," 8 Mar. 2018 Embiid provided the third quarter's best highlight with a nimble spin move into a ferocious dunk while the World padded its lead out to 32 points in the third and 39 in the fourth. Greg Beacham, Houston Chronicle, "Kings' Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic lead World in Rising Stars game," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ferocious.' 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 ferocious

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ferocious

Latin feroc-, ferox, literally, fierce looking, from ferus + -oc-, -ox (akin to Greek ōps eye) — more at eye

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Statistics for ferocious

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ferocious

The first known use of ferocious was in 1646

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More Definitions for ferocious



English Language Learners Definition of ferocious

: very fierce or violent

: very great or extreme


fe·​ro·​cious | \fə-ˈrō-shəs \

Kids Definition of ferocious

: fierce sense 1, savage a ferocious storm a ferocious roar

Other Words from ferocious

ferociously adverb

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Comments on ferocious

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having a pattern of small flowers

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