savagely fierce, as a wild beast, person, action, or aspect; violently cruel: a ferocious beating.
extreme or intense: a ferocious thirst.

Origin of ferocious

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 formsfe·ro·cious·ly, adverbfe·ro·cious·ness, nounnon·fe·ro·cious, adjectivenon·fe·ro·cious·ly, adverbnon·fe·ro·cious·ness, nounun·fe·ro·cious, adjectiveun·fe·ro·cious·ly, adverb

Synonyms for ferocious

1. rapacious. See fierce.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ferociously

Contemporary Examples of ferociously

Historical Examples of ferociously

  • In the meantime, the wounded beast was snapping and snarling most ferociously.

  • It was the terrier who had ferociously attacked the lion, and the lion was charmed.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • Society punished it ferociously and justly, in self-defence.

  • Adam spun on him ferociously, raising a heavy hand in threat.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • They came at us ferociously, and nearly broke through our line.

    The Cryptogram

    William Murray Graydon

British Dictionary definitions for ferociously



savagely fierce or cruela ferocious tiger; a ferocious argument
Derived Formsferociously, adverbferocity (fəˈrɒsɪtɪ) or ferociousness, noun

Word Origin for ferocious

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

Word Origin and History for ferociously



1640s, from Latin ferocis, oblique case of ferox "fierce, wild-looking" (see ferocity). Related: Ferociously; ferociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper