\ 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 In the continuing saga of Benji, the feisty eight-pound Taco Terrier courtesy of the Boone County Humane Society Shelter, there's more to share. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MASTERSON ONLINE: Furry Svengali," 20 Sep. 2020 Her feisty personality inspired everything from memes to Kate McKinnon's portrayal of the justice on Saturday Night Live. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice and champion for gender equality, dies at 87," 19 Sep. 2020 Awful in the first period, awesome in the second, shaky in the third, feisty in the fourth, the Heat came through when needed most -- at the end of overtime. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Butler, Adebayo push Heat past Celtics 117-114 in OT in East finals opener," 15 Sep. 2020 The Twins wound up trudging their way to a 7-5 win in 3 hours, 43 minutes, sweeping Cleveland to take second place in the feisty AL Central. Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune, "Twins, Astros and Dodgers: Funky connection through Marwin," 13 Sep. 2020 Ginger Purdy, once a famous and feisty advocate for San Antonio women, is a robust 93. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, ExpressNews.com, "‘Happy to be here’: A visit brings back memories of an elderly mom who had a ‘big, big life’ in San Antonio," 11 Sep. 2020 Actors Theatre of Louisville presents the show based on Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of the immortal Transylvanian count and his unexpectedly feisty human prey. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville shows this week: 'Dracula,' 'George Gershwin Alone,' Magician Cody Clark & more," 13 Sep. 2020 Shauna Latelle Gardner, 36, was bold and feisty and curious. Byron Mccauley, The Enquirer, "One year ago, a stray bullet killed their mother. These twins thrive through struggles.," 10 Sep. 2020 Even in old age, Lisa Erickson was feisty, engaging and always ready to offer her opinion, according to those who knew her. Katie Galioto, Star Tribune, "Liselotte 'Lisa' Erickson, German war bride who made Duluth her home, dies at 106," 9 Sep. 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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Last Updated

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feisty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feisty. Accessed 1 Oct. 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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