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fierce

[feers]
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adjective, fierc·er, fierc·est.
  1. menacingly wild, savage, or hostile: fierce animals; a fierce look.
  2. violent in force, intensity, etc.: fierce winds.
  3. furiously eager or intense: fierce competition.
  4. Informal. extremely bad or severe: a fierce cold.

Origin of fierce

1250–1300; Middle English fiers < Anglo-French fers, Old French fiers (nominative) < Latin ferus wild, fierce; cf. feral1, ferocious
Related formsfierce·ly, adverbfierce·ness, nouno·ver·fierce, adjectiveo·ver·fierce·ly, adverbo·ver·fierce·ness, nounun·fierce, adjectiveun·fierce·ly, adjective

Synonyms

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1. untamed; cruel, fell, brutal; barbarous, bloodthirsty, murderous. Fierce, ferocious, truculent suggest vehemence and violence of temper, manner, or action: fierce in repelling a foe. Ferocious implies fierceness or cruelty, especially of a bloodthirsty kind, in disposition or action: a ferocious glare; ferocious brutality toward helpless refugees. Truculent suggests an intimidating or bullying fierceness of manner or conduct: His truculent attitude kept them terrified and submissive. 2, 3. furious, passionate, turbulent.

Antonyms

1. tame, mild.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fierce

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • This unexpected opposition excited the fierce resentment of the captain.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Afterward his uncle came in a fierce humor, slamming the door.

  • When a woman loves a fierce man she takes the risk of his fierceness.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • She could be fierce and wicked; she is ignorant and bitter about many things; I am afraid for her.

  • The voice, too, when he spoke, was as deep and as fierce as the growl of a beast of prey.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle


British Dictionary definitions for fierce

fierce

adjective
  1. having a violent and unrestrained nature; savagea fierce dog
  2. wild or turbulent in force, action, or intensitya fierce storm
  3. vehement, intense, or strongfierce competition
  4. informal very disagreeable or unpleasant
Derived Formsfiercely, adverbfierceness, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French fiers, from Latin ferus
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 fierce

adj.

mid-13c., "proud, noble, bold," from Old French fers, nominative form of fer, fier "strong, overwhelming, violent, fierce, wild; proud, mighty, great, impressive" (Modern French fier "proud, haughty"), from Latin ferus "wild, untamed," from PIE root *ghwer- "wild, wild animal" (cf. Greek ther, Old Church Slavonic zveri, Lithuanian zveris "wild beast").

Original English sense of "brave, proud" died out 16c., but caused the word at first to be commonly used as an epithet, which accounts for the rare instance of a French word entering English in the nominative case. Meaning "ferocious, wild, savage" is from c.1300. Related: Fiercely; fierceness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper