Definitions

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

  • noun The hand closed tightly with the fingers bent against the palm.
  • noun Informal A grasp; a clutch.
  • transitive verb To clench into a fist.
  • transitive verb To grasp with the fist.
  • transitive verb Vulgar To insert the hand into the rectum or vagina of (someone) as a means of sexual stimulation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To break wind.
  • noun In printing, the index sign , included by type-founders among the marks of reference.
  • To strike with the fist.
  • To grip with the fist.
  • noun Same as fise and fise-dog.
  • noun The act of breaking wind: same as fise.
  • noun A puffball.
  • noun The hand clenched; the hand with the fingers doubled into the palm.
  • noun Used to translate German faust, hand-breadth, equal in Austria to 10.54 centimeters, or about 4 inches.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To strike with the fist.
  • transitive verb obsolete To gripe with the fist.
  • noun The hand with the fingers doubled into the palm; the closed hand, especially as clinched tightly for the purpose of striking a blow.
  • noun obsolete The talons of a bird of prey.
  • noun (print.) the index mark [☞], used to direct special attention to the passage which follows.
  • noun (Naut.) rapidly; hand over hand.

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

  • verb intransitive To break wind.
  • noun The act of breaking wind; fise.
  • noun A puffball.
  • noun hand with the fingers clenched or curled inward
  • noun printing the pointing hand symbol
  • noun ham radio the characteristic signaling rhythm of an individual telegraph or CW operator when sending Morse code
  • noun slang a person's characteristic handwriting
  • noun A group of men
  • verb To strike with the fist.
  • verb To close (the hand) into a fist.
  • verb To grip with a fist.
  • verb slang To fist-fuck.

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

  • noun a hand with the fingers clenched in the palm (as for hitting)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English fȳst; see penkwe in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fisten, fiesten, from Old English *fistan ("to break wind gently"; supported by Old English fisting ("breaking wind")), from Proto-Germanic *fistaz (“breaking wind, fart”), from Proto-Germanic *fīsanan (“to break or discharge wind, fart”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peys- (“to blow, breathe”). Cognate with Dutch veest ("a fart"), Low German fīsten ("to break wind"), German Fist ("a quiet wind"), Fisten ("breaking wind"), Swedish fisa ("to fart"), Latin spīrō ("breathe, blow"), Albanian fryj ("to blow, breath").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fist, from Old English fȳst ("fist"), from Proto-Germanic *funstiz (compare West Frisian fûst, Dutch vuist, German Faust), from Proto-Indo-European *pn̥kʷ-sti 'fist' (compare Lithuanian kùmstė, Old Church Slavonic pęstĭ), from *pénkʷe 'five'. More at five.

Examples

Comments

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  • Though rare today, this symbol was in common use between the 12th and 18th centuries in the margins of books, and was formerly included in lists of standard punctuation marks. Its typical use is as a bullet-like symbol to direct the reader’s attention to important text, having roughly the same meaning as the word "attention" or "note".

    It primarily fell out of favor because its complex design made it unfit for handwriting, and its wide size made it difficult to fit on a typewriter or on early, low-resolution, monospaced computer fonts. Thus, it was not included in early forms of ASCII. It was, however, added to Unicode.

    Other names for the symbol include: index (HEY, this is a bug!), bishop's fist, digit, manicule, mutton-fist and pointing hand.

    July 31, 2008

  • That's the problem with texts today--no manicules. How am I supposed to find the good stuff? :-)

    July 31, 2008

  • I believe they still use these in the For Dummies series. Not that I'd know!

    July 31, 2008