[fer-uh s]
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Origin of ferrous

1860–65; < Latin ferr(um) iron + -ous
Related formspre·fer·rous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of ferrous

British Dictionary definitions for ferrous


  1. of or containing iron in the divalent state; designating an iron (II) compound

Word Origin for ferrous

C19: from ferri- + -ous
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 ferrous

"pertaining to or containing iron," 1865, from Latin ferreus "made of iron," from ferrum "iron" (see ferro-). In chemistry, "containing iron," especially with a valence of two.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ferrous in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or containing iron, especially with a valence of 2 or a valence lower than in a corresponding ferric compound.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ferrous in Science


  1. Containing iron, especially iron with a valence of 2. Compare ferric.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.