\ 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

Sports with Ann Killion And, of course, captain Megan Rapinoe — feisty, outspoken, fearless — was likely to be right in the middle of it. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Megan Rapinoe vs. President Trump? A predictable circus on the eve of an epic game," 27 June 2019 Through the years, NYC Pride—like many other LGBTQ marches around the country and the world—abandoned much of its radical roots, shedding its more feisty elements to become the fun party millions are now used to attending. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "There is a radical new alternative to the NYC Pride march that rejects corporate influence," 27 June 2019 Contentious matters will no doubt lead to deliciously feisty dissents. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The art of throwing shade in a SCOTUS dissent," 20 June 2019 Monica Dewey is his feisty bride-to-be, with a bright, nimble soprano to match. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Classic operas 'The Marriage of Figaro' and 'Rigoletto' round out the St. Louis festival," 18 June 2019 Earlier this year, the Condor Cam torch was passed to the mellow Siwon and his feisty mate, Sola, two Safari Park chicks who grew up to produce two chicks together. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why the Safari Park’s California condor dads are Father’s Day stars," 14 June 2019 Much will depend of the feisty Japanese squad’s ability to stay solid at the back, and to withstand what figures to be an early onslaught. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "World Cup: Ranking the matchups in the Round of 16," 29 June 2018 That started a ferocious surge that got a feisty Notre Dame squad back into it. Mike Fitzpatrick, chicagotribune.com, "Notre Dame rallies from 21 down to stun Virginia Tech in ACC tournament," 7 Mar. 2018 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

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

12 Jul 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).


characterized by aphorism

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