the hand closed tightly, with the fingers doubled into the palm.
Informal. the hand.
Informal. a person's handwriting.
Printing. index(def 8).

verb (used with object)

to make (one's hand) into a fist.
to grasp in the fist.

Origin of fist

before 900; Middle English; Old English fȳst; cognate with German Faust fist; perhaps akin to five





or fice fist



Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. a small mongrel dog, especially one that is ill-tempered; cur; mutt.

verb (used without object)

South Midland U.S. to prance or strut about: Look at him feist around in his new clothes.

Origin of feist

1760–70; compare (from 16th cent.) fisting hound, fisting cur, as contemptuous epithets for any kind of dog (present participle of fist to break wind, late Middle English; compare Old English fisting breaking wind, Middle Low German vīst, German Fist fart); (def 2) perhaps back formation from feisty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fist

paw, hand, grip, clutch, vise, grasp, hold, clasp, mitt

Examples from the Web for fist

Contemporary Examples of fist

Historical Examples of fist

  • No stones or other missiles were used; the battle was fist to fist.

  • Had his fist in my face before I could get my finger on the trigger.

  • He felt his own fist tingle as he returned the effort with interest.

  • There was a thud as his fist hit the rickety, squeaking table in the center of the room.

  • Garson brought his fist down on the table with a force that made the glasses jingle.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for fist



a hand with the fingers clenched into the palm, as for hitting
Also called: fistful the quantity that can be held in a fist or hand
an informal word for hand, index (def. 9)


(tr) to hit with the fist

Word Origin for fist

Old English fӯst; related to Old Frisian fest, Old Saxon, Old High German fūst; see five
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 fist

Old English fyst, from West Germanic *fustiz (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German fust, Old Frisian fest, Middle Dutch vuust, Dutch vuist, German Faust), from Proto-Germanic *fukhstiz, probably ultimately from PIE *penkwe- "five" (cf. Old Church Slavonic pesti, Russian piasti "fist").



also fist, "a breaking wind, foul smell, fart," mid-15c. (Old English had present participle fisting), a general West Germanic word; cf. Middle Dutch veest, Dutch vijst (see feisty).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fist


see hand over fist.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.