Webster 1913 Edition



, belonging to the dead.]
Funereal; deadly; fatal; dangerous.
Feral accidents.”

Webster 1828 Edition



[L. feralis.] Funeral; pertaining to funerals; mournful.

Definition 2024



See also: féral


Feral cats on Big Island, Hawaii


feral (comparative more feral, superlative most feral)

  1. Wild, untamed, especially of domesticated animals having returned to the wild.
  2. (of a person) Contemptible, unruly, misbehaved.

Derived terms




feral (plural ferals)

  1. A domesticated animal that has returned to the wild; an animal, particularly a domesticated animal, living independently of humans.
    • 1960 May 19, New Scientist, Notes and Comments: No homes for the pigeons, page 1261,
      Although it is not difficult to induce domestic pigeons to nest in boxes fixed to trees, London′s ferals are not yet acclimatized to arboreal holes.
    • 2005, Alexandra Powe Allred, Cats' Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Mysterious Mousers, Talented Tabbies, and Feline Oddities, unnumbered page,
      Traffic, abuse, inhumane traps, and accidental poisoning are other hazards ferals must face. [] In England one gamekeeper claimed to have killed over three hundred ferals, while another brought home pelts to his wife so that she could design rugs from cat skins as a source of secondary income.
    • 2007, Clea Simon, Cries and Whiskers, page 26,
      You trap ferals, neuter them, and give them their rabies shot. Maybe distemper.
    • 2011, Gina Spadafori, Paul D. Pion, Cats for Dummies, unnumbered page,
      If you′ve ever put a saucer of milk out for a hard-luck kitty, or if you′re spending your lunch hour sharing sandwiches with the ferals near your office, this is the chapter for you.
  2. (Australia, colloquial) A contemptible young person, a lout, a person who behaves wildly.
  3. (Australia, colloquial) A person who has isolated themselves from the outside world; one living an alternative lifestyle.
    • 1995, Bill Metcalf, From Utopian Dreaming to Communal Reality: Cooperative Lifestyles in Australia, page 82,
      The intolerance which was directed towards us during the early years has now shifted to ‘the ferals’ who embrace a new version of nonconformist behaviour that even some of us in their parent′s generation — the Aquarian settlers — don′t like. The ferals are the scapegoats for the drug problems here, and are highly visible since many of them have nowhere to live.
    • 2002, Shane Maloney, Something Fishy, 2003, page 208,
      A pod of ferals was moving towards the exit, a half-dozen soap-shy, low-tech, bush-dwelling hippies.
    • 2010, Anna Krien, Into The Woods: The Battle For Tasmania's Forests, page 102,
      It′s the rootlessness of the ferals that people don′t seem to trust; their claims of connectedness to all wild places touches a nerve. Even residents of Maydena who want to see the Florentine protected dislike the ratbags′ itinerancy.

Usage notes

  • The term should not be confused with feral child, a child raised with little or no human assistance.




feral m, f (plural ferales)

  1. feral