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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 fiercely

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "He would do so at the peril of his life, then," said the captain, fiercely.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Often enough," he said fiercely, and he thought of his drunken father.

  • "My home is where my daughter is," answered Castell fiercely.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • But his face had turned white and Dick saw that he was fiercely angry.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • "It's Charley Channing that's the donkey; not me," cried Tod, fiercely.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood


British Dictionary definitions for fiercely

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 fiercely

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