\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Chavez said his family described Gallegos as a very feisty, happy-go-lucky little girl who loved playing with her cousins. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, 15 Mar. 2022 On Friday night, the feisty, undermanned Cavs, who have been limping to the finish line, rallied all the way back from a 17-point first-quarter deficit. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 8 Apr. 2022 In the sequel, the beautiful, feisty and smart Laura (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) is back with handsome mob boss Massimo (Michele Morrone) and erotic sparks fly between them. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 7 Apr. 2022 Joining the dynamic duo on their adventure is a feisty gypsy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace) and Sherlock’s craftier but crazier older brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry). Jacob Siegal, BGR, 6 Apr. 2022 Complications arise when Edwina becomes engaged to Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), who is in turn developing feelings for the feisty Kate. Meredith Blakestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2022 Some could be feisty with wind gusts up to 40 or 50 mph, and perhaps some soft hail. Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2022 Throughout his lifetime, Cudahy inspired a raft of adjectives, including eccentric, outspoken, crusty, free-spirited and feisty. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Mar. 2022 The feisty boa constrictors didn’t necessarily enjoy contributing to the experiment and their opposition actually worked to the team’s advantage. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

25 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Feisty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feisty. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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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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