before 900;Middle English;Old Englishfȳst; cognate with GermanFaust fist; perhaps akin to five
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 Englishfisting breaking wind, Middle Low Germanvīst,GermanFist fart); (def 2) perhaps back formation from feisty
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).
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").