Synonyms & Antonyms of ferocious

2 marked by bursts of destructive force or intense activity
  • ferocious forest fires threatened to destroy hundreds of homes in the scrubland

Synonyms for ferocious

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Antonyms for ferocious

4 marked by great and often stressful excitement or activity
  • after a day of ferocious up-and-down trading, the stock market ended up down 300 points

Synonyms for ferocious

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Antonyms for ferocious

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Frequently Asked Questions About ferocious

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

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Time Traveler for ferocious

Time Traveler

The first known use of ferocious was in 1646

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Cite this Entry

“Ferocious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ferocious

Nglish: Translation of ferocious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferocious for Arabic Speakers


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