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feisty (FY-stee) adjective

1. Spirited; full of courage, spunk, or energy.

2. Touchy, irritable, or ill-tempered.

[From feist, variant of obsolete fist, short for fisting cur, a contemptuous term for a dog, from fist, from Middle English fisten (to break wind). The word fizzle is ultimately derived from the same source.]

"The disputed territory - remote but fertile and said to contain gold - is not the real issue. More important is the fact that Ethiopia, big, ancient and proud, has its main access to the outside world controlled by small, new, feisty Eritrea." Africa: The New Princes Fall Out, The Economist (London), May 23, 1998.

"Roxelane, it turns out, was a feisty character in a comic play that Haydn wrote some music for." Greg Sandow, Hi, I'm Wolfgang and I'll be Your Composer, The Wall Street Journal (New York), Aug 27, 2002.

This week's theme: words that have changed meaning with time.


I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. -Jorge Luis Borges, writer (1899-1986)

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