I have a question about this sentence.

"I’m a fierce competitor."

I've got a rough idea of "a fierce competitor".

However, I don't understand it is used as good meaning, like "passionate competitor", or used as bad meaning, like "competitor of violent temper".

I checked the definition of "fierce" on the dictionary, and I believe there are both good and bad meaning of "fierce".

So is "a fierce competitor" also used as good meaning and bad meaning?

Please kindly inform me. Thank you in advance.

  • Add the definition(s) you found and a dictionary source/link. It is hard to answer without knowing what you are looking at, and how those definitions are causing confusion.
    – user3169
    Feb 10, 2016 at 5:01
  • @user3169: I checked on Marriam-Webstar. It said :very violent : eager to fight or kill : having or showing a lot of strong emotion : very strong or intense. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fierce I also checked on English-Japanese dictionary. Feb 10, 2016 at 5:27
  • Then, can you categorize them as good or bad?
    – user3169
    Feb 10, 2016 at 5:29
  • @user3169: No, I can't... If there is only meaning "very violent", I am sure that I understood that it's bad meaning.However, there is also meaning "having or showing a lot of strong emotion". Now, I confuse. I can't categorize them as good or bad... Feb 10, 2016 at 5:38
  • @cjc: Thank you for the thorough explanation. I guess I roughly understood. Thank you again. Feb 10, 2016 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


Fierce is an adjective that shows or describes a very high degree

A fierce competitor is a very determined competitor meaning they will keep trying to defeat their opponent even if it becomes very difficult

Ferocious and fierce are shown as synonyms in the dictionary, but ferocious has more of the violent meaning

The lion is ferocious and afraid of nothing

Fierce does not necessarily mean good or bad, usually surrounding context is used

He is fiercely competitive at chess (determined, can't really be violent at chess)
His fierce attack was successful (violent, sudden, and determined)
The dragon is a fierce beast (violent and scary)
The snow storm was fierce and claimed several lives (violent and strong)

Other examples as fiercely

Professional athletes are fiercely competitive and want to win
Mothers are fiercely protective of their young
Lions are fiercely aggressive to intruders
Soldiers are fiercely loyal to their leaders

these all describe a very high degree of what is being modified

Some more examples of fiercely can be found here


A fierce competitor has a neutral connotation. "Fierce" does not tell you if the competitor is good or bad, only that they are very competitive, with an emphasis on intensity. Examples:

Hillary Clinton was a fierce competitor in the 2008 Democratic primary.

The poker champion was known to be a fierce competitor.

To survive in Primorsky Krai, the Amur tiger must be a fierce competitor.

The phrase refers to someone or something that does not give up easily, presses every advantage, and is challenging to compete against.

In the same sense, fierce competition can refer to multiple challenging opponents, or to a competition that is expected to be difficult.

The Democrats are fierce competition for the Republicans this year.

The NFL playoffs are always a fierce competition.

It can also be used in a playful or sarcastic way.

My two-year-old son was fierce competition for that Labrador puppy.


the term "fierce competitor" carries positive connotations. among other things, the word "fierce" implies mercilessness, but not underhandedness. a similar term with negative connotations would be "vicious competition" which implies malice on part of the competitor.

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