fe·​ro·​cious | \ fə-ˈrō-shəs How to pronounce ferocious (audio) \

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 All the expenses add up, especially with California experiencing longer and more ferocious fire seasons. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Planes dropping colorful chemicals helped squelch this fire. But there’s a cost," 12 Sep. 2020 But none were as ferocious or fast-moving as what the long-time residents of Big Creek faced this week when flames overwhelmed their community, forcing them to flee in the middle of the night and reduced their home to ashes. Topher Gauk-roger, CNN, "A California family recalled a harrowing escape before their home was swallowed by flames. 'We're nomads'," 10 Sep. 2020 The responsive rhetoric from Beijing has been ferocious. Michael Johns Jr., National Review, "Australia Faces Down the Dragon," 8 Sep. 2020 Hurricane Laura pounded the Gulf Coast with ferocious wind, torrential rain, and unleashed a wall of seawater that could push 40 miles inland as the Category 4 storm roared ashore Thursday in Louisiana near the Texas border. The Christian Science Monitor, "Now a Category 1 storm, Laura blasts Gulf Coast for two days," 27 Aug. 2020 The other narrative continued in vivid imagery the following week, when San Francisco’s ferocious pass rush overwhelmed the Vikings’ line and turned Cousins skittish. Star Tribune, "Brightest spotlight continues to shine on Kirk Cousins as he readies for Year 3," 5 Sep. 2020 They had been killed in ferocious attacks that left little doubt they had been slain by the same people who killed Ms. Tate and her companions. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Irving Kanarek, Lawyer Who Defended Charles Manson, Dies at 100," 3 Sep. 2020 The most ferocious aspect of the UAB defense is the outside linebacker positions occupied by Jordan Smith and Alex Wright. Evan Dudley, al, "Position-by-position breakdown for UAB’s season-opener against Central Arkansas," 3 Sep. 2020 But the encounter, like a ferocious workout at the gym, leaves one invigorated as well as exhausted. Daniel Akst, WSJ, "‘Cynicism’ and ‘The Function of Cynicism at the Present Time’ Review: When Nothing Is Good Enough," 2 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for ferocious

Time Traveler

The first known use of ferocious was in 1646

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Statistics for ferocious

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ferocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferocious. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for ferocious


How to pronounce ferocious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ferocious

: very fierce or violent
: very great or extreme


fe·​ro·​cious | \ fə-ˈrō-shəs How to pronounce ferocious (audio) \

Kids Definition of ferocious

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

Other Words from ferocious

ferociously adverb

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