View synonyms for feisty


[ fahy-stee ]


, 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.


/ ˈfaɪstɪ /


  1. lively, resilient, and self-reliant
  2. frisky
  3. irritable

Discover More

Other Words From

  • feisti·ly adverb
  • feisti·ness noun

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of feisty1

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; feist + -y 1

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of feisty1

C19: from dialect feist, fist small dog; related to Old English fīsting breaking wind

Discover More

Example Sentences

Especially if it involves a band of feisty women who are both haunted and haunting.

From Ozy

Kennedy emerged from the meeting “slightly shaken,” in the words of one reporter, but with a better understanding of Alabama’s feisty governor.

From Time

A former librarian who drinks and smokes through a cancer diagnosis, for instance, is also known as a feisty advocate against chemical sweeteners.

The email lists are more robust, the tools that came out of Hillary Clinton’s loss and the resulting Resistance movement are formidable and the activists are feisty.

From Time

Winds will remain extra feisty into the midday or early afternoon, before slowly waning.

The feisty airline is the brainchild of entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian of Indian descent who also is a British citizen.

The House caucus appears to be far more populist, feisty, and ready to push the debate on economic issues than it has in the past.

Sitting at a cozy café in the center of Tel Aviv, Kallai looks nothing like the feisty woman he plays on screen.

She has since become an accomplished and feisty human rights lawyer.

The feisty feminist in me has often warred with the longtime gamer in me.

On an impulse he stepped up to the small man who began a grin of recognition, a grin that transformed his feisty face.

I get sort of feisty and want to dav-il her by makin' you look pretty.


Discover More

More About Feisty

What does feisty mean?

Feisty is used to describe someone or something that is full of energy or courage. Someone who’s described as feisty usually has a strong will and is unafraid of showing it, even in difficult circumstances or when challenged.

Feisty is also used to describe a person or animal that is ill-tempered: Jack gets feisty when he is tired.

Sometimes feisty is used to describe someone or something that is troublesome: My computer gets feisty whenever the software updates.   

Feisty can be used as a compliment, praising someone’s courage, spiritedness, or pluckiness. Or it can be used somewhat critically, suggesting someone is prone to getting angry. Feisty depends on how someone thinks about the words and actions of the person or thing they think is feisty.

Example: It took hours to catch the feisty puppy who easily outran all of us.

Where does feisty come from?

The first records of feisty come from around around 1900. It was first used in the U.S.. It may be related to the word feist, which is used in the Southern United States to refer to an irritable dog or a mutt. Angry, unfriendly dogs tend to be full of energy, so feisty could imply something is acting similarly. The word is related to the Old English word fīsting, meaning “breaking wind.”

If something or someone is feisty, they have a lot of energy ready to use. They are ready to take on whatever comes next. If you are trying to control or stop a feisty person or animal, you are going to have a challenge.

Scrappy-Doo from the Scooby-Doo cartoon series is an example of an especially feisty character. The pint-sized puppy will take on anything! In fact, the word scrappy is similar in meaning to feisty.

Oftentimes, animals are also called feisty if they disobey or are unfriendly. A fish that struggles against being reeled in might be called a feisty one.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to feisty?

  • feistily (adverb)
  • feistiness (noun)

What are some synonyms for feisty?

What are some words that share a root or word element with feisty

What are some words that often get used in discussing feisty?

How is feisty used in real life?

Feisty is used to describe people and animals that have a lot of energy, spirit, or courage.



Try using feisty!

Is feisty used correctly in the following sentence?

The feisty dog spent the whole day laying around and sleeping.