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

The Tigers undoubtedly had the most ferocious defensive line last season. Laken Litman, SI.com, "August Questions We'll Get the Answers to Before the 2019 Season Kicks Off," 1 Aug. 2019 Mack, meanwhile, didn’t board his flight for Chicago until Labor Day weekend, when Bears general manager Ryan Pace executed the earth-shaking trade to enliven an already sturdy defense with one of the game’s most ferocious pass rushers. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Bourbonnais newbies Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith ready to get started: ‘We’re trying to get rings. That’s the thing.'," 26 July 2019 Record-setting heat in parts of the country fueled ferocious storms, which lead to a number of life-threatening lightning strikes — including one at a Florida beach that left eight people injured on Sunday afternoon. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Lightning Strikes Florida Beach Leaving 8 Injured: Report," 22 July 2019 First, a ferocious storm had ripped into the outer layer of concrete. Peter Schwartzstein, National Geographic, "This vanishing forest protects the coasts—and lives—of two countries," 17 June 2019 The ferocious fictional storm also damaged and closed Reagan National Airport in Washington. Jeff Martin, The Seattle Times, "In simulation, Category 4 hurricane devastated East Coast," 11 Sep. 2018 As towering waves smashed onto Costa Rica's Cocles beach, sucking away much of its sand, surf instructor Leo Downer was scared the coastal road, along with his Toyota car, would be washed into the Caribbean by the ferocious February storm. Sophie Hares, The Christian Science Monitor, "Costa Rica's coast struggles to survive against rising seas," 25 May 2018 Mudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California, authorities said Tuesday. Aric Jenkins, Time, "These Grim Photos Capture the Deadly Destruction of the Montecito Mudslides," 10 Jan. 2018 The fighting since has been ferocious and many Afghan troops and insurgents are believed to have died in the battle so far. Rahim Faiez And Amir Shah, Fox News, "Afghan forces battle Taliban for key city for fourth day," 13 Aug. 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

12 Aug 2019

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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 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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Comments on ferocious

What made you want to look up ferocious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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