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See also: féral


Feral cats on Big Island, Hawaii


Borrowed from Middle French féral, from fer + -al, or borrowed from a Late Latin ferālis, from Latin ferus (wild).



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[edit]



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, “'Notes and Comments: No homes for the pigeons'”, in New Scientist, 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.
  4. (furry subculture) A character in furry art or literature which has the physical characteristics (body) of a regular animal (typically quadripedal), that may or may not be able to communicate with humans or anthros (contrasts anthro)
    The story is about a group of ferals which have to explore the ruins of society after the humans die out.

Derived terms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Feral in the furry-related sense can refer to both regular animals as well as characters which have the bodies of regular animals but the intelligence of a human. Intelligent feral characters are often depicted as speaking with other characters, but may only be able to speak with other ferals and not humans or anthros due to a language barrier.




Borrowed from a Late Latin ferālis, from Latin ferus (wild), or formed from fiero +‎ -al.


feral (plural ferales)

  1. feral

Related terms[edit]