• synonyms


[feer-uh l, fer-]
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  1. existing in a natural state, as animals or plants; not domesticated or cultivated; wild.
  2. having reverted to the wild state, as from domestication: a pack of feral dogs roaming the woods.
  3. of or characteristic of wild animals; ferocious; brutal.

Origin of feral1

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin, Late Latin ferālis bestial, wild, equivalent to Latin fer(a) wild beast + -ālis -al1


[feer-uh l, fer-]
  1. causing death; fatal.
  2. funereal; gloomy.

Origin of feral2

First recorded in 1615–25, feral is from the Latin word fērālis of the dead, funerary, fatal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for feral


  1. Also: ferine (of animals and plants) existing in a wild or uncultivated state, esp after being domestic or cultivated
  2. Also: ferine savage; brutal
  3. Australian derogatory, slang (of a person) tending to be interested in environmental issues and having a rugged, unkempt appearance
  1. Australian derogatory, slang a person who displays such tendencies and appearance
  2. Australian slang disgusting
  3. Australian slang excellent

Word Origin

C17: from Medieval Latin ferālis, from Latin fera a wild beast, from ferus savage


adjective archaic
  1. astrology associated with death
  2. gloomy; funereal

Word Origin

C17: from Latin fērālis relating to corpses; perhaps related to ferre to carry
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

Word Origin and History for feral


c.1600, from Middle French feral "wild," from Latin fera, in phrase fera bestia "wild animal," from ferus "wild" (see fierce).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

feral in Science


[fîrəl, fĕr-]
  1. Existing in a wild or untamed state, either naturally or having returned to such a state from domestication.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.