November 19, 2013
feral (adjective)
\FEER-ul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: having escaped from domestication and become wild
How do you use it?
A number of people are working hard to get the neighborhood's feral cats spayed and neutered and also to keep them fed.
Are you a word wiz?

"Feral" traces back to the Latin word "ferus," meaning "wild." Which animal below do you think gets its name from the same Latin word?

English got the word "zebra" from Portuguese, and Portuguese likely got the word from the Latin word "equiferus," meaning "kind of wild horse." ("Equus" is the Latin word for "horse.") "Ferus" plays a role in the history or "ferocious" too. That word can mean "very fierce or violent," as in a "ferocious tiger," and also "very great, extreme," as in "a ferocious appetite." The word "fierce" itself comes from "ferus" too. It shares the first meaning of "ferocious" but can also describe something expressed with force or anger, such as a "fierce argument," or something very harsh or powerful, such as a "fierce storm."
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