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

Synonyms & Antonyms for ferocious


fell, fierce, grim, savage, vicious


gentle, mild, unaggressive

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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

And his prominence in conservative politics is already generating ferocious counter-attacks from the, er, less inhibited precincts of the right-wing media, viz. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Powerful House Republican Implicated in College Sex Abuse Scandal," 3 July 2018 But the insurgency has largely been suppressed over the past decade by a ferocious military campaign, without snuffing out tribals’ complaints of injustice. The Economist, "Stone-carving villagers make Indian officials jittery," 7 June 2018 When the army launched its ferocious counter-attack, many survivors ended up fleeing into Bangladesh along with the insurgents. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "Rights group: Rohingya insurgents massacred Myanmar Hindus," 23 May 2018 On the Republican side, candidates waged a ferocious campaign for the gubernatorial nomination. Jonathan Lai, Philly.com, "What we can learn from low Pa. primary election turnout, and why it matters that just 1 in 6 Philly voters showed up," 21 May 2018 More than 1,600 people have been reported killed since government troops, backed by Russian air power, launched a ferocious campaign to take back eastern Ghouta in February. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "Dozens killed in suspected chemical weapons attack on rebel-held city near Damascus, activists say," 8 Apr. 2018 Bucknell’s Kimbal Mackenzie hit a three from the corner as time expired to cap a ferocious comeback against Colgate. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Watch: Bucknell Hits Buzzer-Beater to Complete Comeback From Down 10 in Final Minute," 12 Feb. 2018 And, to be fair, these little guys (actually the largest land-dwelling weasels) are ferocious. Josh Dean, Esquire, "America's 10 Toughest Animals," 2 June 2015 The grunts and ferocious focus were still there against Görges, who put up more resistance in her first Grand Slam semifinal than Thursday’s score might indicate. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Serena Williams, Enjoying Every Moment, Is Back in the Wimbledon Final," 12 July 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

23 Sep 2018

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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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