The Meaning of Feisty: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of feisty? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word feisty, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word feisty mean?

According to Vocabulary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word feisty (pronounced ˈfaɪstɪ) is an adjective that is used to describe a person who can either be spirited or courageous, or touchy and ready for a fight. This word can have two very different connotations, so many sure that the person you are describing as feisty can discern which meaning you intend to eliminate any possibility for offense. This word can also be said in varying degrees of intensity, i.e. feistier or feistiest. Oftentimes, people are described as feisty. In an adventure novel, a feisty heroine could come across an equally feisty challenger to battle. Feisty people are often high-spirited. Tyr using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are many different languages that contain words meaning feisty. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to each other. This is likely due to the fact that they share a common origin. Usually, cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean the same thing across languages, are formed when two words or languages share a common ancestor like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word feisty is provided by Word Sense

  • Russian: напо́ристый‎
  • Dutch: hardnekkig‎
  • Italian: tenace‎, tosto‎
  • German: zäh‎, hartnäckig‎
  • Finnish: ärhäkkä‎, kipakka‎
  • Swedish: ettrig‎
  • Romanian: tenace‎
  • French: tenace‎
  • Czech: houževnatý‎
  • Georgian: შეუპოვარი‎, უდრეკი‎, ჯიუტი‎, მტკიცე‎, გამძლე‎
  • Spanish: tenaz‎

How can the word feisty be used in a sentence?

The word feisty can be used to describe many different people that are tenacious ro touchy. In this example, Jude is talking about his new coworker with his other coworker Tara. 

Jude: Did you meet the new girl?

Tara: No, not yet. What’s she like?

Jude: Very feisty woman, to say the least. She was ready to argue about everything. I asked her if she wanted me to show ehr around the place, and she got all combative.

Tara: How did you say it? You have a tendency to be a little… mansplainy.

Jude: I do not!

Tara: Now who’s feisty?

Here, Tara and Jude both use the word feisty to mean ready for a fight or touchy and oversensitive. Next, Tara and Jude come back to discussing the coworker after Tara has met her.

Tara: I agree, she is feisty.

Jude: See? Told you–

Tara: But not in the way you meant. She’s super driven and spirited, she seems like a lot of fun. We’re having drinks Friday. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word feisty?

There are many different words in the English language that mean the same thing as the word feisty. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are a very useful device to know because they can help you avoid repeating the same word over and over again while also expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word feisty is provided by Thesaurus

  • frisky
  • full of pep
  • gritty
  • game
  • gingery
  • zippy
  • peppy
  • ornery
  • gutsy
  • fiery
  • quarrelsome
  • full of life
  • hot-blooded
  • brave
  • touchy
  • sprightly
  • lively
  • zesty
  • dauntless
  • fearless
  • excitable
  • resolute
  • audacious
  • hyper
  • high-strung
  • passionate
  • avid
  • bright
  • sparkling
  • rocking
  • sharp
  • chirpy
  • effervescent
  • keen
  • courageous
  • peppery
  • thin-skinned
  • active
  • energetic
  • snappy
  • truculent
  • ardent
  • zappy
  • enthusiastic
  • high-spirited
  • mettlesome
  • bold
  • tough
  • alive
  • intrepid
  • difficult
  • nervy
  • zingy
  • burning
  • bubbly
  • scrappy
  • plucky
  • vivacious
  • zestful
  • jumping
  • hot
  • zealous
  • eager
  • animated
  • sensitive
  • alert
  • gutty
  • spunky
  • animate
  • spirited
  • bouncy
  • vigorous

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word feisty. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are useful words and phrases to know to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word feisty is also provided by Thesaurus

  • addled
  • slow
  • gentle
  • simple
  • secret
  • shy
  • shallow
  • insensate
  • fixed
  • thick
  • mild
  • sedate
  • vacuous
  • not bright
  • private
  • dim
  • untroubled
  • secluded
  • doltish
  • quiet
  • obtuse
  • scatterbrained
  • sluggish
  • moronic
  • brainless
  • dim-witted
  • undisturbed
  • feeble-minded
  • meek
  • contented
  • wearisome
  • tedious
  • stagnant
  • unexcited
  • unanxious
  • daffy
  • half-baked
  • dull
  • stolid
  • stable
  • indolent
  • collected
  • stupid
  • dumb
  • tranquil
  • inactive
  • witless
  • restful
  • simple-minded
  • backward
  • still
  • numskulled
  • low
  • dense
  • placid
  • halcyon
  • serene
  • unintellectual
  • besotted
  • smooth
  • motionless
  • hushed
  • isolated
  • ignorant
  • remote
  • daft
  • unruffled
  • level
  • reserved
  • boring
  • pacific
  • docile
  • retired
  • imbecilic
  • sequestered
  • unfrequented

What is the origin of the word feisty?

According to Etymonline, the word feisty has been used as an adjective since 1896 to refer to someone who is exuberant. This comes from the root word feist meaning small dog, which was at one point spelled fice or fist. These both come from American English around the year 1805. This was short for the phrase fysting curre, meaning “stinking cur.” This has been used since the 1520s and used the present participle form of the Old English fysten or Middle English fisten meaning to break wind. This comes from the Proto-Germanic fistiz which is a noun meaning fart. This is from the Proto-Indo-European root pezd meaning a fart. In the early 1800s, the term fice was described as a fart. This is also similar to the Danish fise  and English aske-fise, literally meaning fire-tender or ash-blower. Related words to the word feisty include fart, feist, fizzle and petard, as well as the adverb feistily and the noun feistiness. 

Overall, the word feisty is an English word that is used to describe a person who is either high-spirited and tenacious, or someone who is quarrelsome and touchy. This word has its roots in other words meaning to break wind, but that meaning has since been lost. The word feisty is usually used positively, but make sure this is clear before using it to describe someone.