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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ferocious
  • Kudzu, the ferocious invasive vine, has wrestled some now-deserted neighborhoods to the ground.
  • What it wants is an explanation, which you feel will free you in some way-if only from the grip of your ferocious waiting.
  • When another scientist then challenges the hypothesis, they can be pretty ferocious in their reactions.
  • Again, the ferocious rhetoric belies the mundane reality.
  • The ferocious-seeming federal statutes were almost entirely for show.
  • The self-effacing but ferocious player never stands pat.
  • The groom turned, took four paces, and heard a ferocious whoosh behind him.
  • The ferocious waters spared him but killed his parents and his fiancé.
  • With its jawless toothy mouth adapted to suck the blood of fish, the sea lamprey is a ferocious parasite.
  • Your lion would likely be covered in the blood of your enemy and thus be looking pretty ferocious.
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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