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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 In 2018, during his first bout with Fury, Wilder relied on his ferocious right hand. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, 9 Oct. 2021 Texas coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense lost focus (and stamina) after a ferocious start fronted by senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, who speared Rattler for a third-down sack and blocked the ensuing punt near the end zone. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Oct. 2021 Travis, a National Merit Scholar, was brilliant, courageous, funny, full of promise—and a ferocious drinker. Lance Morrow, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 The film’s explicitness about bodily fluids (including Alexia’s various discharges, which appear to be based not on water but on motor oil) and the ferocious physicality that’s onscreen throughout set the tone for the hectic intensity of the story. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 5 Oct. 2021 Together, the wing and front splitter—each supplied by Dundon Motorsports—provide even greater on-road stability and ferocious downforce, as well as contribute to the vehicle’s sharper handling. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 4 Oct. 2021 The decision to award the 2018 prize to Peter Handke, who has been accused of genocide denial, received ferocious criticism. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 4 Oct. 2021 As climate change advances, rainstorms will become fewer but more ferocious. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021 The Patriots did not fare quite as well against the ferocious Bears in Super Bowl XX. BostonGlobe.com, 1 Oct. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ferocious

Time Traveler for ferocious

Time Traveler

The first known use of ferocious was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ferocious




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ferocious

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ferocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferocious. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ferocious

Nglish: Translation of ferocious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferocious for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!