Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state of being wild or untamed.
  • n. The state of being savage; ferocity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The quality or fact of being wild or in a wild state; wildness, brutishness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Wildness; savageness; fierceness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Wildness; savageness; cruelty.

Etymologies

Latin feritās, from ferus, wild; see feral.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin feritatem, from ferus ‘wild’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He finds wildness not only in the woods, but in such literary works as Hamlet and the Iliad; and even in certain forms of society: “The wildness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet”

    Transcendentalism

  • To burn the bones of the king of Edom for lime, + seems no irrational ferity; but to drink of the ashes of dead relations, + a passionate prodigality.

    Hydriotaphia, or Urn-burial

  • The wildness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.

    Walking

  • To burn the bones of the King of Edom for lime seems no irrational ferity: but to store the back volumes of Mr Bottomley’s John Bull a passionate prodigality.

    XI. Of Selection

  • Edom for lime seems no irrational ferity: but to store the back volumes of Mr Bottomley's "John Bull" a passionate prodigality. '

    On The Art of Reading

  • Its wild, demoniac laughter awakens the echoes on the solitary lakes, and its ferity and hardiness are kindred to those robust spirits.

    Birds and Poets : with Other Papers

  • Especially when I read of the adventures of Russian and Polish exiles in Siberia -- men of aristocratic lineage wandering amid snow and arctic cold, sleeping on rocks or in hollow trees, and holding their own, empty-handed, against hunger and frost and their fiercer brute embodiments do I recognize a hardihood and a ferity whose wet-nurse, ages back, may well have been this gray slut of the woods.

    Winter Sunshine

  • To burn the bones of the king of Edom for lime, [II. 3.n] seems no irrational ferity; but to drink of the ashes of dead relations, [II. 3.o] a passionate prodigality.

    Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, and the Letter to a Friend

  • J'he Prof - ferity of both at the Reftoration of Peace. —

    An Estimate of the Comparative Strength of Great Britain, During the Present and Four Preceding ...

  • No enmity, we know, * fb bitter, as that of alienated friends no fuch persecution as that of Apoftates, and propor - tionably, no fuch ferity as that of a perverted mildnels.

    The Ladies Calling: In Two Parts

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