Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fierce adj.

(orig. US)

1. very bad or unpleasant; corrupt.

[[UK]T. Duffet Epilogue Spoken by Heccate and Three Witches 31: I pick’d Shop-keeper up, and went to th’ Sun. He Houncht ... and Houncht ... and Houncht; And when h’ had done, Pay me quoth I, Be damn’d you Whore! did fierce Mechanick cry].
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 155: It’s something fierce and savage to be broke in Omaha.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 21: Our room’s kep’ fierce. I’m goin’ to stop summers else next time we play Noo York.
[US]Wash. Post 3 July 3/1: ‘It’s gettin’ fierce,’ he said [...] ‘What’s the matter, Hop, what’s gettin fierce?’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 83: These drills are somethin’ fierce. Give me another iron!
[US]N. Putnam West Broadway 17: I will say of New York that the administration is fierce, and they say there's lots of graft going on; but that don’t affect the wonderful department stores any, does it?
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 121: You don’t know how to talk [...] Your English is fierce.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 710: ‘It’s fierce, fierce.’ ‘Gee, it’s tough, all right.’.
[Ire] in ‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 41: Fierce language he uses sometimes.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 59: My boy’s head is smokin’ sump’n fierce.
[Ire]W. Burrowes Riordans 93: Slurry disposal actually. It’s a fierce headache.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 44: Fierce, the old coffin nails [...] The wife’s never done at me about jackin’ them in.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 74: J, you look fierce man, goes Duane like he was buildin up to payback for his short lock.

2. great, large, fast.

[US] Wash. Post 15 Jan. 4/3: Hully gee! De tief turned on de cop and hit him a fierce poke in de slats!
[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 154: We’re in a fierce hurry.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 139: It wasn’t broken but snot and blood fell out of it at a fierce speed.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 273: ‘Gosh you’re a fierce height,’ she said. ‘How tall are you?’.
P. Cockburn Broken Boy 27: There was a fierce scare.
[Ire]A. Killilea Boyo-wulf at 13 May 🌐 nd jesus, that was a fierce amount of suffering.

3. a general adj. of approval: excellent, wonderful, first-rate [on bad = good model].

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Dec. 12/4: I guess ‘Florodora’ will take on, thanks to fierce (new synonym for smart) frocking and catchy songs and dances.
[US]Day Book 20 June 6/2: Gee, but I used to be a fierce dresser.
[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 56: Ain’t it fierce what music does to persons.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 166: We’re goin’ to get a fierce kickback on that.
[UK]E. Cross Tailor and Ansty 123: Yerra, there used to be some fierce weddings in the old days.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 67: ‘The best turnips in the country,’ he said; ‘they’re butting a dread; some of them as thick as your thumb. They’re fierce turnips.’.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 161: Feelin’ fierce, coach.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 115: You looking fierce man.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 153: Fuckin’ fierce or what?
Twitter 17 Mar. 🌐 This song is bloody fierce. Exploring more of Lady Lamb’s discography now.
[Ire]A. Killilea Boyo-wulf at 20 Mar. 🌐 [He] did just mighty beneath the heavens, lapped up fierce respect.

SE in slang uses

In phrases