Definition of feisty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfʌɪsti/

adjective (feistier, feistiest)

1(Of a person, typically one who is relatively small) lively, determined, and courageous: a love story with a feisty heroine who’s more than a pretty face
More example sentences
  • Yet set against that is the fact that this is a pretty dry effort with an unusual lack of feisty anecdotes, and this remains one for the real aficionado.
  • They are characters you can get underneath and they are all quite strong and feisty, but they are all flawed and frail.
  • Scotland were well beaten by a determined and feisty Irish side who now go to Twickenham next weekend with a chance of winning the championship.
1.1Touchy and aggressive: he got a bit feisty and tried to hit me
More example sentences
  • Once they adapt to their new coach's ways, the team will be aggressive and feisty.
  • I simply nodded, quelling that feisty, fiery side of me, and offered yet another ghost of a smile.
  • The feisty old lady lives alone but fights with the men almost every day.



Example sentences
  • It's a system that has produced feistily independent judges for centuries, whatever the theoretical breach of the separation of powers principle.
  • But when there are a handful of cat-calls from the audience, Maines responds feistily.
  • ‘I think the media has built it up to be something they can have a little fun with,’ she observed, feistily.


Example sentences
  • His enthusiasm and feistiness have tempered a lineup that was beginning to take itself too seriously.
  • They bring a youthful feistiness to the roles, but there isn't the bitterness or sophistication to make Shakespeare's rapier swift dialogue sting.
  • She is composed almost entirely of feistiness.


Late 19th century: from earlier feist, fist 'small dog', from fisting cur or hound, a derogatory term for a lapdog, from Middle English fist 'break wind', of West Germanic origin. Compare with fizzle.

  • A small farting dog is the surprising idea behind the word feisty, meaning ‘spirited and exuberant’. It comes from the earlier and now obsolete word feist or fist meaning ‘small dog’, from fisting cur or fisting hound. This was a derogatory term for a lapdog, deriving from the old verb fist, meaning ‘to break wind’. Fist may also be the source of fizzle, which in the 16th century meant ‘to break wind quietly’. Fart itself goes back to Old English times and was formerly a more respectable word than it is now—Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Canterbury Tales.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: feisty

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