\ 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

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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 Strong-willed, feisty, funny, brave, hopeful, clumsy and awkward are all words that might describe Anna, the lovably idiosyncratic character in Disney ’s 2013 hit Frozen. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2021 The song about a mother telling a group to mind their own business was witty, feisty and became a No. 1 hit. Arkansas Online, 22 Aug. 2021 Ramona's been feisty all night, but once Archie introduces the mere notion of empathy for Black and Jewish communities, she's had quite enough. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, 14 Aug. 2021 But don’t wait for the chance to boat a daily bag limit of five of the feisty trout. D'arcy Egan, cleveland, 12 Aug. 2021 The rivalry between the USWNT and Sweden was already feisty before Rio. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 20 July 2021 Granted, those are the achievements of her feisty and independent character Marion Ravenwood, who alongside Indiana Jones first appeared in theaters on June 12, 1981. John Benson, cleveland, 10 June 2021 The third-year guard is also a relentless worker and feisty competitor. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 14 July 2021 Paired with nicely bitter rapini, the spreadable cured salami lends a delightful air of feisty unpredictability to quiche. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, 9 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near feisty



fei ts'ui

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Last Updated

4 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Feisty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feisty. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for feisty



English Language Learners Definition of feisty

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

More from Merriam-Webster on feisty

Nglish: Translation of feisty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of feisty for Arabic Speakers


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