- full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky: The champion is faced with a feisty challenger.
- ill-tempered; pugnacious.
- troublesome; difficult: feisty legal problems.
Origin of feisty
Examples from the Web for feistiness
If only Huntsman had shown some of that feistiness on stage.Huntsman Blows Romney Attack at GOP Debate
November 10, 2011
Does Mitt Romney have Chris Christie to thank for his feistiness?7 Best Debate Moments
October 12, 2011
Here was the feistiness that likely could have made him the victor had his name been on the ballot.Anthony Weiner’s Election Day
September 13, 2011
- lively, resilient, and self-reliant
- US and Canadian frisky
- US and Canadian irritable
Word Origin and History for feistiness
1896, "aggressive, exuberant, touchy," American English, with -y (2) + feist "small dog," earlier fice, fist (American English, 1805); short for fysting curre "stinking cur," attested from 1520s, from Middle English fysten, fisten "break wind" (mid-15c.); related to Old English fisting "stink," from Proto-Germanic *fistiz- "a fart," said to be from PIE *pezd- (see fart), but there are difficulties.
The 1811 slang dictionary defines fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Cf. also Danish fise "to blow, to fart," and obsolete English aske-fise, "fire-tender," literally "ash-blower" (early 15c.), from an unrecorded Norse source, used in Middle English for a kind of bellows, but originally "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [OED].