\ˈfī-stē \
feistier; feistiest

Definition of feisty 

1 chiefly Southern US and Midland US

a : full of nervous energy : fidgety

b : touchy, quarrelsome

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

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 The feisty point guard was a ball of energy in his 33 minutes, bouncing all over the court and helping facilitate the offense, while picking up and pestering his man full court on defense. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Pacers set the tone early against the Suns," 24 Jan. 2018 As for now, the feisty point guard will try to lead the Lady Chargers on another lengthy playoff run. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Girls' basketball: Clear Springs' Dymond Gladney is quite the gem," 13 Jan. 2018 In it, our intrepid culture reporter and person-with-lots-of-opinions Sam Machkovech applies his critical eye to movies, books, TV, and anything else that catches his feisty fancy. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: What First Man does and doesn’t say about Neil Armstrong," 12 Oct. 2018 Venus, a 2006 British dramedy written by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Roger Michell, starring Peter O’Toole as a frail old actor and Jodie Whittaker as the feisty young woman who becomes his companion. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream Venus, the breakthrough film for Doctor Who’s Thirteenth Doctor," 5 Oct. 2018 And the feisty and opinionated Anne wouldn’t quietly hide away after being discarded, as Catherine did. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the brutal anniversary of a royal beheading," 17 May 2018 She, on the other hand, was feisty and alert when officials found her, Stoke said. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Two N.H. gray seals released back into ocean after recovering from March nor’easters," 14 May 2018 But Chubs gets a little feisty around food, Mills said. Justin Madden, cleveland.com, "'Chubs' the potbelly pig found roaming the streets of Euclid," 10 Jan. 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

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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