\ 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 Cowboys get a young, high-upside pass rusher while the Bengals get a feisty, young corner whose best ball is ahead of him. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: Exploring 3 ‘fantasy’ player-for-player trades for the Cowboys, including a deal involving Jamal Adams," 17 June 2020 June 27 brings a new burst of spontaneity, as ambitious Mars makes his way into feisty Aries. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your June Horoscope," 1 June 2020 That’s when Sexton, a feisty 6-foot-2 point guard, walked into the Cavaliers practice facility in Independence. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "Inside Darius Garland’s private workout that wowed the Cleveland Cavaliers and played a large role in his selection," 22 June 2019 An impressive number of the top U.S. ensembles and feisty local ones participated. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Review: Why ‘Noon to Midnight’ is the new-music bargain that’s hard to beat," 3 June 2019 Scott Skiles High school: Plymouth Draft: 1986, 22nd overall Career PER: 14.4 The feisty point guard bounced around plenty in his early years before establishing himself in the Orlando backcourt in his fourth season. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "NBA Draft 2019: Ranking Indiana high school alums relative to draft position," 19 Sep. 2018 Thousands of people commented on the exchange thereafter, including many affirming that Rose’s feisty oeuvre was indeed a boon to America. Steven Levy, Wired, "We Asked for Flying Cars. We Got Axl Rose's Twitter Spat," 8 May 2020 Not to be left out, trout, especially of the feisty Western variety, will also attack a foamy topwater lure, such as the four hopper and Chernobyl patterns in this dozen-fly set. Outdoor Life, "Explosive topwater fly patterns for some blockbuster thrills," 1 May 2020 Exhibit 2 Spain Park couldn't find a rhythm against a feisty Vestavia Hills squad in the Class 7A Northwest Regional final in Hanceville and the Rebels led the Jags 22-19 at the half. Dennis Victory, al, "Spain Park’s Sarah Ashlee Barker named ASWA Miss Basketball," 4 Apr. 2020

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

feist + -y entry 1

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Time Traveler for feisty

Time Traveler

The first known use of feisty was in 1896

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Statistics for feisty

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feisty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feisty. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for feisty


How to pronounce feisty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of feisty

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

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