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adjective, \ˈfī-stē\

Simple Definition of feisty

  • : not afraid to fight or argue : very lively and aggressive

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of feisty


  1. 1 chiefly Southern & Midland a :  full of nervous energy :  fidgety b :  touchy, quarrelsome c :  exuberantly frisky

  2. 2 :  having or showing a lively aggressiveness :  spunky <the movie's feisty heroine>

feistiness noun

Examples of feisty in a sentence

  1. I was —feisty, because people misinterpret what country music is, just like they think Southerners are a bunch of hicks. —Wynonna Judd, quoted in Rolling Stone, 8-22 July 1993

  2. Humorist Cynthia Heimel never plays it safe, bless her feisty little heart. She's outrageous and hilarious, daring to say exactly what she and millions of other women really think … —Donna Seaman, Booklist, 15 May 1993

  3. … Milwaukee was the last major industrial city to elect a Socialist mayor—Frank P. Zeidler, a feisty octogenarian who teaches today at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee … —Charles P. Pierce, Village Voice, 10 Mar. 1992

  4. She never tired of hearing anecdotes from her childhood, and she particularly liked to hear how feisty she had been … —Lorene Cary, Black Ice, 1991

  5. The novel features a feisty heroine.

  6. Even her opponents admire her feisty spirit.

Did You Know?

In certain parts of the United States, most notably the South, the noun feist (pronounced to rhyme with heist) refers to a small dog used in hunting small game animals (such as squirrels). Also spelled fice or fyce, it comes from an obsolete term, "fisting hound," that derived from another obsolete term, fist, a verb that once meant "to break wind." The term feisty has come a long way from its flatulent origin, but its small-dog association still seems relevant: the term conveys the spunk and determination that one may associate with a dog that manages to make its presence known (either through its bark or its bite) despite its small size.

Origin of feisty

(see feist)

First Known Use: 1896

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up feisty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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