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 for fierce

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 for fierce

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

Examples from the Web for fiercer

Contemporary Examples of fiercer

  • Major storm events strike harder and more often, because warming oceans create conditions for fiercer hurricanes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Let's Tax Carbon

    David Frum

    December 3, 2012

  • One of the fiercer battles was over the level of the memorial.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Place to Remember

    Nick Summers

    September 11, 2011

  • I ask him if he thinks 1970 was a comparable moment in the U.S. “I think it was fiercer,” he says.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Martin Amis' Sexual Revolution

    Olivia Cole

    May 10, 2010

  • You'll need the help: Competition at these schools is fiercer than ever.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How to Write a Winning Ivy League Essay

    Kathleen Kingsbury

    October 25, 2009

  • And the competition for those jobs is, if anything, fiercer and less dignified than that for the top jobs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Washington's New Marriages Of Convenience

    David Rothkopf

    November 21, 2008

Historical Examples of fiercer

  • Meaning what we mean, he required a stronger, fiercer vocabulary than we ever need.

  • Were they driven away, they returned, more numerous and fiercer than before.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • A like spirit, but fiercer and more violent, has appeared in politics.

  • In its fiercer gusts it drowned the ring of the lusty voices.

  • And the sun climbed higher; its scourgings grew ever fiercer.

    When the West Was Young

    Frederick R. Bechdolt

British Dictionary definitions for fiercer


  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 for fierce

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 fiercer



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