\ˈfirs \
fiercer; fiercest

Definition of fierce 

1a : violently hostile or aggressive in temperament a fierce tiger

b : given to fighting or killing : pugnacious fierce fighters

2a : marked by unrestrained zeal or vehemence a fierce argument

b : extremely vexatious, disappointing, or intense fierce pain

3 : furiously active or determined make a fierce effort

4 : wild or menacing in appearance

5 informal : having or expressing bold confidence or style When it comes to celebrity fashion, while the looks are fierce they're not always attainable.— Marlen Komar

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fierce

fierceness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fierce

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 fierce in a Sentence

He was killed in a fierce battle. The proposal has faced fierce opposition. The two teams have had a fierce rivalry for many years. He's admired for his fierce independence. You could see the fierce determination in her eyes.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

When Mary Lee Tracy, perhaps best known for coaching Amanda Borden of the 1996 Olympic team, was hired as USAG’s elite development coordinator in August, the response was similarly fierce. Jessica Taylor Price, Teen Vogue, "USA Gymnastics Faces Calls to Decertify Following Mary Bono Hiring and Resigning," 19 Oct. 2018 With less than two weeks until the finals of America's Got Talent, the competition has never been so fierce. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Results From Last Night Have Voices of Hope Fans Devastated," 6 Sep. 2018 The competition between natural gas and coal is especially fierce this summer: the former could set a record in terms of its contribution to overall US energy generation. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "US energy agency: Sorry coal, natural gas is having another record summer," 11 July 2018 Billoo has been a fierce critic of Israel’s government, denounced the recent killings by Israeli soldiers of more than 120 protesters in Gaza, and has described Zionism as racist. Bob Egelko,, "Bay Area interfaith group will honor Muslim leader after all," 2 July 2018 But killer bees—hybrids of the relatively docile European strain of honey bee and a more aggressive African relative—are particularly fierce. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "What turns bees into killer bees?," 15 June 2018 The rematch on June 9 at Staples Center figures to be even fiercer. Michael Mcknight,, "In Rematch Against Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz Finds Motivation in Father's Cancer Fight," 7 June 2018 The competition is fierce as Sony, Nihon Kotsu, and Didi Chuxing all look to offer some variation of taxi-hailing services in Japan. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Uber Is Moving Into Japan One Small Step at a Time," 22 May 2018 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Honored Princess Diana in the Sweetest Ways," 19 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fierce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fierce

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fierce

Middle English fiers, from Anglo-French fer, fers, fiers, from Latin ferus wild, savage; akin to Greek thēr wild animal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fierce

Statistics for fierce

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fierce

The first known use of fierce was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fierce



English Language Learners Definition of fierce

: very violent

: eager to fight or kill

: having or showing a lot of strong emotion : very strong or intense


\ˈfirs \
fiercer; fiercest

Kids Definition of fierce

1 : likely to attack a fierce animal

2 : having or showing very great energy or enthusiasm She plays the game with fierce determination.

3 : wild or threatening in appearance He brandished a fierce sword.

4 : characterized by extreme force, intensity, or anger a fierce fight fierce winds

Other Words from fierce

fiercely adverb
fierceness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fierce

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


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!