fu·​ry ˈfyu̇r-ē How to pronounce fury (audio)
plural furies
: intense, disordered, and often destructive rage
capitalized : any of the avenging deities in Greek mythology who torment criminals and inflict plagues
: an avenging spirit
: one who resembles an avenging spirit
especially : a spiteful woman
: extreme fierceness or violence
: a state of inspired exaltation : frenzy

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Dire Straits and Furies

Dire and fury share a history in Roman mythology, as each of these words is connected to the Erinyes, the avenging and terrifying deities of ancient myth who tormented criminals. The Romans referred to these goddesses as either the Dirae or the Furiae. The former is from the Latin word dirus, from which dire is descended, and the latter comes from furere, from where we get fury. The word dire is often found in conjunction with straits; in dire straits is used of a situation that is very bad or difficult. Our records indicate that this phrase began to be used in English at the end of the 18th century, when it appeared in Francis Fawkes’s The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius: “When now the heroes through the vast profound, Reach the dire straits with rocks encompass’d round.”

Choose the Right Synonym for fury

anger, ire, rage, fury, indignation, wrath mean an intense emotional state induced by displeasure.

anger, the most general term, names the reaction but by itself does not convey cause or intensity.

tried to hide his anger

ire, more frequent in literary contexts, suggests an intense anger, often with an evident display of feeling.

cheeks flushed with ire

rage and fury suggest loss of self-control from violence of emotion.

shook with rage
could not contain his fury

indignation stresses righteous anger at what one considers unfair, mean, or shameful.

a comment that caused general indignation

wrath is likely to suggest a desire or intent to punish or get revenge.

I feared her wrath if I was discovered

Examples of fury in a Sentence

I could see the fury in her eyes. Nothing could contain his fury over their accusations. He turned away from them in fury. The hurricane unleashed its fury on hundreds of homes and businesses.
Recent Examples on the Web Among the changes is a recognition that the prime minister’s standoff with President Biden over the course of the war and the delivery of humanitarian aid may have backfired, and that domestic fury over the fate of the more than 100 remaining hostages can no longer be kept at bay. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2024 Despite the revisions to books, several Hearst newspapers and a few independent papers continued to stoke the fury. TIME, 8 Apr. 2024 That first season wrapped up during the hazy fury that followed the 2000 presidential election. Wesley Morris Ron Butler Emma Kehlbeck Ted Blaisdell, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2024 Thursday’s announcement also comes amid mounting international fury over Israeli strikes that killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen in Gaza. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 Moreover, even as the U.S. killing of Saadi, the Kataib Hezbollah commander, provoked fury in Iraq, axis groups refrained from any retaliation, although Kataib Hezbollah later reversed its earlier decision to suspend operations. Joost Hiltermann, Foreign Affairs, 28 Mar. 2024 But nothing could move Ahmed; there was a fury in him that frightened her. Anand Gopal, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024 But like most bells that follow a fury, the second round of harsh and heavy rainfall in the Bay Area in 48 hours was expected to be followed by a break. Rick Hurd, The Mercury News, 2 Mar. 2024 Most of all, there was an outpouring of bewildered fury from women who believed her promotion of marital submission undid much of the feminist work that had been accomplished during the past half century. Sophie Elmhirst, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fury.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English furie, from Latin furia, from furere to rage

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fury was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fury

Cite this Entry

“Fury.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fury. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


fu·​ry ˈfyu̇(ə)r-ē How to pronounce fury (audio)
plural furies
: violent anger
threw the vase in a fury
capitalized : one of the avenging spirits of classical mythology
: a violently angry person
: wild and dangerous force
the fury of the storm

More from Merriam-Webster on fury

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