from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly Southern U.S. A small mongrel dog.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a small snappy belligerent mixed-breed dog
  • n. A silent (but pungent) fart (flatus)

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as fist.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a nervous belligerent little mongrel dog


Variant of obsolete fist, short for fisting dog, from Middle English fisting, a blowing, breaking wind, from Old English fīsting.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Earliest sense is “fart”, and later “stink”. Sense of dog is 1805 American English, from earlier forms fice and fist, as abbreviation for fysting curre “stinking cur” (1520s), from Middle English fysten, fisten ("fart, break wind") (mid-15th century) (related to Old English fisting ("stink")). Old English term is from Proto-Germanic *fistiz- (“a fart”), presumably from Proto-Indo-European *pezd-, though this is disputed. (Wiktionary)



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  • Breaking wind in a suppressed manner. --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    June 25, 2011

  • A person or animal that is irascible, touchy, thin-skinned, or bad-tempered. Alternatively, a person of little worth.

    When you look at the etymology of the term, the story takes a twist. Feist or fice or fyst originates from the Anglo-Saxon word fistan, which means to fart. Despite one suggestion that the name was applied to the hunting dogs because they “run as if breaking the wind�? (whatever that might mean) there is a much more likely possibility. The small dogs were originally referred to as a fysting curres or “stinking curs.�?

    Davis, Donald, and Jeffrey Stotik. 1992. Feist or Fiction? The Squirrel Dog of the Southern Mountains. Journal of Popular Culture 26 (3):193-301.

    July 11, 2009

  • /FEIST/ n · A silent fart.

    August 7, 2008