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[fuh-roh-shuh s] /fəˈroʊ ʃəs/
savagely fierce, as a wild beast, person, action, or aspect; violently cruel:
a ferocious beating.
extreme or intense:
a ferocious thirst.
Origin of ferocious
1640-50; < Latin ferōc-, stem of ferōx savage, fierce (fer(us) wild (see feral1, fierce) + -ōx having such an appearance; akin to -opsis) + -ious
Related forms
ferociously, adverb
ferociousness, noun
nonferocious, adjective
nonferociously, adverb
nonferociousness, noun
unferocious, adjective
unferociously, adverb
1. rapacious. See fierce. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ferocious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They had not evolved into the ferocious monsters which were later to be masters of the seas.

    The Elements of Geology William Harmon Norton
  • I did not know what that dish was, but the ferocious reporter continued his questions.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • This ferocious beast was exhibited chained to the dead trunk of a tree in the side-show.

    Toaster's Handbook Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers
  • The Moors now rushed on them from all parts with a ferocious joy.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • Approaching, he heard not only calls for help but roars and growls accompanied by ferocious cries and violent blows.

    Old French Fairy Tales Comtesse de Sgur
British Dictionary definitions for ferocious


savagely fierce or cruel: a ferocious tiger, a ferocious argument
Derived Forms
ferociously, adverb
ferocity (fəˈrɒsɪtɪ), ferociousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ferox fierce, untamable, warlike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ferocious

1640s, from Latin ferocis, oblique case of ferox "fierce, wild-looking" (see ferocity). Related: Ferociously; ferociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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