Etymology
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fierce (adj.)

mid-13c., "proud, noble, bold, haughty," from Old French fers, fiers, nominative form of fer, fier "strong, overwhelming, violent, fierce, wild; proud, mighty, great, impressive" (Modern French fier "proud, haughty"), from Latin ferus "wild, untamed, uncultivated; waste, desert;" figuratively "wild, uncultivated, savage, cruel" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast").

Meaning "ferocious, wild, savage, cruel" of persons is from c. 1300; of beasts from late 14c. Original English sense of "brave, proud" died out 16c., but while this sense was current fierce often was used in English as an epithet (and thus surname), which accounts for the rare instance of a French word entering English in the nominative case. Related: Fiercely; fierceness. In Middle English sometimes also "dangerous, destructive; great, strong; huge (in number)." An early 15c. medical treatise has fers benes for "wild beans."

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zebra (n.)
c. 1600, from Italian zebra, perhaps via Portuguese, earlier applied to a now-extinct wild ass, of uncertain origin, said to be Congolese [OED], or Amharic [Klein], but perhaps ultimately from Latin equiferus "wild horse," from equus "horse" (see equine) + ferus (see fierce). Related: Zebrine; zebroid.
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*ghwer- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "wild beast."

It forms all or part of: baluchitherium; feral; ferine; ferocious; ferocity; fierce; ther-; Theropoda; treacle.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin ferus "wild, untamed;" Greek thēr, Old Church Slavonic zveri, Lithuanian žvėris "wild beast."

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truculent (adj.)

1530s, from Latin truculentus "fierce, savage, stern, harsh, cruel," from trux (genitive trucis) "fierce, rough, savage, wild," perhaps from a suffixed form of PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome." Related: Truculently.

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rampant (adj.)

c. 1300, raumpaunt, "standing on the hind legs" (as a heraldic lion often does), thus, also, "fierce, ravenous" (late 14c.), from Old French rampant, rampans, present participle of ramper "to climb, scale, mount" (see ramp (v.)). Sense of "growing without check" (in running rampant), is recorded by 1610s, probably is via the notion of "fierce disposition" or else preserves the older French sense. Related: Rampantly.

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savagery (n.)

1590s, "barbarous disposition, quality of being fierce or cruel;" see savage (adj.) + -ry. By 1825 as "uncivilized state or condition."

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atrocious (adj.)
1660s, "heinous, extremely criminal, enormously cruel," from stem of Latin atrox "fierce, savage, cruel" (see atrocity) + -ous. Weakened colloquial sense "very bad" is late 19c. Related: Atrociously; atrociousness.
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glare (n.)
c. 1400, "bright light, dazzling glitter," from glare (v.); especially in reference to light reflected off some surface (17c.). From 1660s in sense of "fierce look." Old English glær (n.) meant "amber."
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lioness (n.)
"female lion," c. 1300, leoness, from lion + -ess. From late 14c., of persons, "fierce or cruel woman." From 1590s as "woman who is boldly public;" from 1808 as "woman who is a focus of public interest."
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Savonarola 

figurative for a puritan attitude toward the arts at least since Shaw (1916), from the name of Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), Dominican monk famous for his fierce opposition to moral licence and Church corruption.

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