\ ˈfī-stē How to pronounce feisty (audio) \
feistier; feistiest

Definition of feisty

1 chiefly Southern US and Midland US

a : full of nervous energy : fidgety
c : exuberantly frisky
2 : having or showing a lively aggressiveness : spunky the movie's feisty heroine

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Other Words from feisty

feistiness noun

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.

Examples of feisty in a Sentence

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 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 … 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 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 The novel features a feisty heroine. Even her opponents admire her feisty spirit.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The company blamed Thursday’s goodwill write-down on competition—a reference to the launch of feisty low-cost competitor Iliad—as well as tougher regulations and higher interest rates. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Elliott, Vivendi Need to End Their Italian Feud," 9 Nov. 2018 The competition is fierce—see Domenic Haynes’s Blind Audition as evidence—and coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine, and John Legend are feistier than ever. Megan Stein, Country Living, "All of 'The Voice' Contestants Who Have Survived the Blind Auditions So Far," 2 Mar. 2019 He was signed by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey last summer for games like this, when the combination of his feisty defense and his capable offense would be a game-changer against Golden State. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "James Harden, Rockets role players light up Warriors in Game 2 rout," 16 May 2018 But as that was happening, a feisty young defense sparked a three-game winning streak early in the year, and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates gained credibility in the building. Albert Breer, SI.com, "The Jets Are Coming After Their Quarterback," 17 Mar. 2018 Samuel’s feisty defense helped Penn Charter (12-6, 2-1 Inter-Ac) seize early control and jump out to a 12-point halftime edge. Aaron Carter, Philly.com, "Will Samuel helps Penn Charter hold off Germantown Academy in OT," 16 Jan. 2018 With her faithful and feisty friend-slash-manager (Alex Borstein, also an Emmy winner) by her side, little by little Midge begins to turn comedy clubs in her favor. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Is Back With a New Full-Length Season 2 Trailer," 24 Oct. 2018 The committee's intervention against Moser was condemned by every candidate in the race, curdling the mood in what had been a feisty but positive primary. David Weigel, chicagotribune.com, "Texas kicks off crowded Democratic primary with enthusiasm, meddling," 6 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, the Lions are hoping Ziggy Ansah returns from injury to bolster what has been a surprisingly feisty pass rush. Seattle Times Sports Staff, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions: Week 8 national media predictions," 26 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'feisty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of feisty

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for feisty

see feist

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Dictionary Entries near feisty





fei ts'ui



Statistics for feisty

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for feisty

The first known use of feisty was in 1896

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English Language Learners Definition of feisty

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

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Comments on feisty

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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