Definition of ferocious in US English:



  • 1Savagely fierce, cruel, or violent.

    ‘the wolverine is nature's most ferocious and violent animal’
    • ‘The latter wild and ferocious creatures are so dangerous they have to be anaesthetised fully for Liam to work on them.’
    • ‘Far from being the ferocious beast of fishing tales, I have found them shy, and rarely aggressive.’
    • ‘It was beautiful, it was terrible, it was ferocious, it was the stuff of desperation.’
    • ‘Experts on arguably the nation's most ferocious beast, say the cold February and March mean midges will appear about a month later than normal.’
    • ‘Those who oppose the government do so with some trepidation because it used ferocious violence in the past to silence any challenge.’
    • ‘They are ferocious beasts, killers, they devour anything in their path.’
    • ‘Those more ferocious animals were kept away while those less dangerous and more pleasing were allowed out.’
    • ‘They looked up to see hundreds of small, ferocious looking beasts.’
    • ‘Would it not seem miraculous to the cave person that we could produce fire from our hands and that we could kill even the most ferocious beast just by pointing at it?’
    • ‘The Brazilian wilderness provided images for nature in its ferocious, unrelentingly brutal aspect.’
    • ‘She was a ferocious, fierce soldier, one who would go far.’
    • ‘She looked less ferocious and was actually smiling brightly at us.’
    • ‘The animal is a most ferocious and savage looking one.’
    • ‘Panicked images of starvation, destruction, and attacks by various ferocious wild animals clouded her vision.’
    fierce, savage, wild, feral, untamed
    brutal, brutish, vicious, violent, bloody, barbarous, barbaric, savage, sadistic, ruthless, remorseless, cruel, pitiless, merciless, heartless, bloodthirsty, murderous, tigerish, wolfish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a conflict) characterized by or involving aggression, bitterness, and determination.
      ‘a ferocious argument’
      • ‘He was lost amidst the ferocious battle, watching in absolute concentration.’
      • ‘One British soldier and 25 rebels died in the ferocious fire-fight.’
      • ‘Thus one of the most endearing qualities of a young child, the urge to be taken seriously, slowly becomes the most ferocious battle for a teenager.’
      • ‘Consultants have also fought a ferocious battle to retain the right to determine who gets the beds when they become vacant.’
      • ‘Indeed rival scientific factions often engage in propaganda battles as ferocious as anything to be found in politics, or even in religious conflict.’
      • ‘After a ferocious argument in the local community about what to do, the day is carried by the man who suggests that they do absolutely nothing.’
      • ‘It is perhaps worth noting that it took a ferocious war (the civil war) to create an American sense of nationhood too.’
      • ‘Few national bards have sparked such ferocious controversy - or have been so thoroughly compromised by domestic squabbles.’
      • ‘The enormous scale of this particularly ferocious war is hard to comprehend.’
      • ‘It is a military metaphor for what promises to be a ferocious argument ahead.’
      • ‘The ferocious war raged on for many hours, costing both factions massive casualties never before recorded in their whole history.’
      • ‘Yes, it is passionate, and it is one of the most ferocious rivalries in the world, but it is not a healthy rivalry.’
      • ‘The ferocious battle over sex education has died down in the past few years, as the sense of crisis over teen pregnancy has diminished.’
      • ‘Imagine walking down the street and you hear a ferocious argument taking place behind a door.’
      • ‘They would get into the most ferocious arguments that somehow would bring them closer together.’
      • ‘This created an expectation that the war would be long, ferocious and severe.’
      • ‘Again, he's dragged into ferocious battle with some nasty colonialists after his family is attacked.’
      • ‘There are daily reports of continuing ferocious clashes between Coalition forces and native insurgents.’
      • ‘The sounds of battle last night told us that this was a ferocious assault.’
    2. 1.2informal Extreme and unpleasant.
      ‘a ferocious headache’
      • ‘The ferocious cost-cutting will inevitably have serious implications for airline safety.’
      • ‘He also paid tribute to the work of London Fire Brigade in tackling the blaze and rescuing three of the children in extremely ferocious conditions.’
      • ‘She leaned back for a moment to accept everything, a ferocious headache on its way.’
      • ‘The tackling from both sides was ferocious and uncompromising.’
      • ‘Chaos descended across South Lakeland at the weekend as severe downpours and ferocious winds caused widespread flooding and damage to property.’
      • ‘Sustained rain and ferocious winds caused severe weather conditions across Cumbria overnight on Friday, some of the worst the region has seen for decades.’
      • ‘They are built to withstand ferocious conditions at sea, including waves in excess of 23 metres and winds over 100 knots.’
      • ‘He doesn't like troublemakers and has his own way of dishing out his own ferocious brand of punishment.’
      • ‘The ferocious weather inflicted severe damage to body panels and windscreens.’
      • ‘Global warming has caused rising sea levels and more ferocious storms with bigger waves.’
      • ‘One of the most ferocious divides today is that between evangelical and secular America.’
      • ‘As they make their way across the North Pacific to San Francisco ferocious storms and heavy seas will have to be endured.’
      intense, extreme, strong, powerful, fierce, burning, searing
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Latin ferox, feroc- ‘fierce’ + -ious.