feisty

[fahy-stee]
adjective, feist·i·er, feist·i·est.
  1. full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky: The champion is faced with a feisty challenger.
  2. ill-tempered; pugnacious.
  3. troublesome; difficult: feisty legal problems.

Origin of feisty

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; feist + -y1
Related formsfeist·i·ly, adverbfeist·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for feistier

Contemporary Examples of feistier

  • But since about 1960, a newer, feistier breed—the National Security Advisor—has changed all that.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Don’t Do It, Hillary!

    Peter Beinart

    November 15, 2008


British Dictionary definitions for feistier

feisty

adjective feistier or feistiest informal
  1. lively, resilient, and self-reliant
  2. US and Canadian frisky
  3. US and Canadian irritable

Word Origin for feisty

C19: from dialect feist, fist small dog; related to Old English fīsting breaking wind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for feistier

feisty

adj.

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].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper