Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Full of spirit or determination; plucky or spunky.
  • adjective Quarrelsome or aggressive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as fusty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Tenacious, energetic, spunky.
  • adjective Belligerent; prepared to stand and fight, especially in spite of relatively small stature or some other disadvantage.
  • adjective Easily offended and ready to bicker.

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

  • adjective quick to take offense
  • adjective showing courage

Etymologies

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

[From feist.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1896, American, feist (“small, aggressive dog”) +‎ -y; the term feist (now rare) itself originally meant “stink”, and earlier “fart”, from Middle English, from Old English, from Proto-Germanic, presumably from Proto-Indo-European – see feist for details.

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