ferocious

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Synonym Chooser

How is the word ferocious different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of ferocious are barbarous, cruel, fierce, and savage. While all these words mean "showing fury or malignity in looks or actions," ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality.

a ferocious dog

When is barbarous a more appropriate choice than ferocious?

Although the words barbarous and ferocious have much in common, barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people.

barbarous treatment of prisoners

When can cruel be used instead of ferocious?

While the synonyms cruel and ferocious are close in meaning, cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it.

the cruel jokes of schoolboys

Where would fierce be a reasonable alternative to ferocious?

The meanings of fierce and ferocious largely overlap; however, fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack.

fierce warriors

When would savage be a good substitute for ferocious?

In some situations, the words savage and ferocious are roughly equivalent. However, savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion.

a savage criminal

Thesaurus Entries Near ferocious

Cite this Entry

“Ferocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ferocious. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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