\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Biden did show a feisty side in blasting Buttigieg for lack of experience. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Bernie Sanders eyes front-runner status after New Hampshire, on good night for Buttigieg and Klobuchar," 12 Feb. 2020 Greatest of All Time championship begins Tuesday, Jan. 14, and the contestants have taken the competition off the feisty but polite Jeopardy! Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "'Jeopardy!:GOAT' Contestants Are "Feuding" On Twitter, and It's Hilarious," 15 Jan. 2020 But the Suns rebounded and hammered a feisty Atlanta team to round out the week. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "NBA power rankings: Phoenix Suns showing staying power under Monty Williams," 18 Nov. 2019 Generations of anglers have wiled away a lazy afternoon on the banks of a slow-moving river with a long rod and a pail full of nightcrawlers, a stringer of feisty channel cats at their feet. Dr. Jason Halfen, Outdoor Life, "5 Fish You Might Not Have Caught Through The Ice But Should," 2 Jan. 2020 Milwaukee came slowly out of the gate, falling behind by as many as nine, then had to fend off the feisty Timberwolves down to the final seconds. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 106, Timberwolves 104: Making a narrow escape," 1 Jan. 2020 Wearing a rather feisty rock python during a visit to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Biggest Royal Moments of the Past Decade," 1 Jan. 2020 Kamat is a feisty journalist in the Mumbai of 1990s and is basically a vessel for the collective anger of the residents of a cooperative society building in Matunga, which has come under threat from the landlord and builders. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The best books Quartz India read in 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 One of the more progressive members of the township Board of Directors, John McMullan retired from his Position 5 seat after three productive, and at times feisty, terms in office. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Year in Review: Local Woodlands figures who were in the news," 20 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of feisty

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for feisty

see feist

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about feisty

Time Traveler for feisty

Time Traveler

The first known use of feisty was in 1896

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about feisty

Statistics for feisty

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feisty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feisty. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!